Saturday, May 30, 2009

California is Now Republican Dreamin’

My conservative friend called me today about California, and predicted that every state will resemble what’s happening there soon, and that run-a-way government spending was to blame. Now everything is getting the budget Axe.


Besides an out of whack "direct governing" style filled with ballot initiatives and propositions, the recession has brought about the Republican wet dream of downsizing. Some may call the government cuts draconian, but think about it. These are the kind of cuts Republicans have been pushing for since I can remember. So let’s take a look at the ideally run “small government” plan:

Some 235,000 state workers will have to take a 5 percent pay cut.

Of the state’s 279 state parks, 200 will be closed, Cutting general fund support for state parks in half this year and eliminating it entirely next year.

Cutting K-12 school funding.

The dismantling of the Cal Grant program, which would make California the first US state to eliminate student financial aid while raising tuition.

Terminating health coverage for nearly 1 million children as well as cutting Medi-Cal coverage for dialysis and for breast and cervical cancer treatment for those over age 65 and ending non-emergency health care for undocumented immigrants.

In the prisons, rehabilitation, education and vocational programs would be hacked. So would the sentences of nonviolent, non-serious offenders, who would go free a year early.

Doing away with a welfare-to-work program that more than 500,000 families
participate in.

Most summer school programs for students from elementary through high school will be canceled this year, as will non-academic programs like recreational activities for younger children,

Breath taking? Not for Republicans.
Republican legislators are insisting the budget can be balanced on cuts alone.

So far so good, huh?

Republicans: The Health Care Simpletons

Is it me or are the health care issues raised by Republicans just plain stupid. All it would take is a dash of common sense and experience. Even a simpleton could explain away their straw man concerns. For instance:

NY Times: Mr. Grassley opposes creation of a new
government insurance program and says “we cannot afford the public health plan we have already,” referring to Medicare.
The easy simpleton response: Medicare is a high risk pool of citizens. Of course it’s going to be expensive, since it is not funded by healthy individuals paying into the system and spreading the risk. All high risk plans will cost more than a plan that includes everyone. Is it possible a senior Senator can get away with “acting” like he still doesn’t get it? We really shouldn’t tolerate it, should we?
Mr. Kennedy said: “Americans want the choice of enrolling in a health insurance program backed by the government for the public good, not private profit. So that option will be available.” Consumers, he said, will be able to enroll in “a publicly sponsored and guaranteed plan.” But insurance companies and Republican lawmakers say a public plan could drive private insurers out of business and lead eventually to a single-payer system run by the government.

Let me get this right. If people gravitate to a public plan because it saves them money, then we should remove this option from health care reform? That makes perfect sense. And I guess the “for profit” companies should be saved even though they are no longer affordable and are no longer relevant? I’m reminded by our Republicans friends, during their tea party protest, that the government is us (hell, we've been saying if for years). Why shouldn’t “we” insure ourselves and save money? Is there a written guarantee in our Constitution to preserve and protect insurance companies? How can the public be so right about their own financial health?

Public opinion polls suggest that many consumers would like to have the choice of a public plan. But insurance companies and Republican lawmakers say a public plan could drive private insurers out of business and lead eventually to a single-payer system run by the government.
Get serious. Do we really give a rats ass about what the Republicans and insurance companies want? They have had their way since the New Deal and look where we are today.

Which brings to mind my favorite quote: “God I hate these people.”-Mike Malloy

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nebraska Sen. Nelson's Resume: Insurance Executive, Insurance Regulator and Gov. of Insurance Capital of World. Reformer?

In the AP story, "Neb. Democrat becomes target of ad campaign," By Margery Gibbs, Sen. Ben Nelson tries to defend himself against those who say he doesn’t support the public health care plan option being considered in the Senate right now.

We also know that if a public option isn’t included, than reform is history, that wold leave health care in its current disasterous unaffordable state.

So how does Sen. Nelson fight back against those who have called his tepid response to the the public plan a health care reform roadblock? You won’t believe his list of defensive comebacks.

Nelson’s spokesman, Jake Thompson, issued a written statement … saying "There's no doubt Senator Nelson understands the insurance industry's important role providing health care for millions of Americans. After all, he's been an insurance executive, an insurance industry regulator, a governor who created a children'shealth-insurance program, and today he represents Nebraska, arguably the insurance capital of the world."
That’s a defense? Looks like a no vote for the pulic health care option, doesn’t it?

NY TImes: "Sotomayor's Sharp Tongue Raises Issue of Temperament." Sexist Much?

Holy crap! My jaw dropped after reading the above headline put out by the Times.

And Antonin Scalia is a real pussy cat?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GOP Code Word: “Empathy? What’s that?”

Why does the media falls all over itself complementing the Republicans for their transparent use of word games? To add insult to injury, Democrats just don’t understand the game or have the time for it. They don’t understand its power of selling an idea. So what I’m about to do here will fade as quickly as clicking to another page.

First, let’s set up my liberal attempt at word gaming, which I gave away in the title of this piece. From the NY Times:

(President) Obama set forth his criteria for a (Supreme Court Justice) replacement by declaring that he viewed “that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient.” But now that conservatives have hijacked empathy and turned it into an epithet — “a code word for an activist judge,” as Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, said recently on ABC.
The comeback: The next time you hear a Republican say the word empathy, respond that it's a code word for “What’s that?”

It’s not only kind of snarky, but it’s true. But for those in the GOP who have heard the word before and have looked up its meaning, they often times try to educate fellow conservatives with a quick definition.

Ed Gillespie, a former counselor to Mr. Bush, said it was no surprise that the White House dropped the word empathy. “Empathy is all about your feelings and your emotions.”
Thank you Ed, but what do “feelings” and “emotions” mean?

And who could forget Bush 1 and his support for the "empathy" laden Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court?

GOP Opposition to Universal Health Coverage Loses Another Dumb Argument.

Uh oh! Republicans have suddenly realized that they have been paying a “hidden tax,” and footing the bill for “lazy health care freeloaders,” for years without even knowing it. That’s right, “HIDDEN TAXES.”

Conservatives have argued for years that socialized medicine would force them to pay for someone else’s health care insurance. It is a patently silly idea, but that’s their story, and now I’m wondering if they’re sticking to it.

AP-The average family with health insurance shells out an extra $1,000 a year in premiums to pay for health care for the uninsured, a new report finds. And the average individual with private coverage pays an extra $370 a year because of the cost-shifting, which happens when someone without medical insurance gets care at an emergency room or elsewhere and then doesn't pay.

Families USA calls it a "hidden tax." Families USA contracted with the independent actuarial consulting firm Milliman Inc. to analyze federal data to produce the findings.

"As more people join the ranks of the uninsured, the hidden health tax is growing," said Ron Pollack, Families USA executive director. "That tax hits America's businesses and insured families hard in the pocketbook, and they therefore have a clear financial stake in expanding health care coverage."

The report found that, in 2008, uninsured people received $116 billion in health care. ... (Part of) that sum made its way into premiums charged by private insurance companies to businesses and individuals, the report said. Ronald A. Williams, chairman and chief executive of Aetna Inc. said, “You're paying for your own care as well as for the care of some of the uninsured in the community."

Hello…do you get it now?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just Like Free Trade, Democrats Fall in Line with Politics of Fear

I thought this said all there needed to be said about the differences between the frightened Republicans and the "I better be scared too" Democrats. Sen. Kyle & Nelson should be ashamed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oompa Loompa Ear Worm and Eye Candy

After watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again with the kids, I couldn't get the included images here out of my mind. It's my creepy addiction.

Dance to Augustus Gloop and Violet Beauregarde.

Gingrich: "I think people should be afraid." The Grand Old Party of Fear.

I've written about it before because its true: Republicans and conservatives are living in fear, and everything that drives their ideology is based on fear. They want concealed carry laws because they fear their neighbors. They want to preemptively attack other countries because they fear for their lives. They fear other will have something they don't. They fear the opposition party and portray them as dangerous socialist who will destroy the greatest country in the world. They fear they are not as patriotic so they repeat over and over how they are THE real Americans. They fear illegal immigrants and gays. They fear their own government and unions. And right now, they fear not having "a leader," a steadfast, unshakable authority figure with the folksy Reagan delivery and Newt Gingrich's forced intellectualism.

Fear is the central driving force upon which everything they say and do is based. Take it from the best, Newt himself. Thank you Sen. Dick Durbin for finally speaking the truth to fear.

Damn the Research… Simple Right Wing Truths.

In my side bar feature “Blogs I’ve Been too…” you’ll find “dissecting leftism.” It’s an unintentionally humorous psychoanalysis of how we liberals think.

A recent British study found that fathers who have daughters are more liberals. Conversely, mothers who have sons lean more conservative. But like any important study, right wing opinions were not included as applicable facts. Thus the results are meaningless at best or just plain wrong. I intentionally posted the results of the study after the more important “truthy” conservative conclusions by our friends at dissecting leftism. Let’s face it, they just know these things, like…

The underlying assumption of the British article “Does having daughters makes fathers more likely to agree with Left-wing views?” is faulty.

Although it is often asserted, Leftism is NOT in fact "feminine". Women can be very practical and such women are by that fact less likely to succumb to Leftist fantasies.

Married people with children lean heavily towards conservative parties. So having ANY children, male or female, moves you to the Right. It is young unattached females who lean Left.

Now on to the study, devoid of the above “nonsensical facts:”

Research has found that the more girls a man has, the more likely he is to be Left-wing. Daughters have such a profound effect on their fathers that they can switch their political viewpoint, a study suggests.

Compared to men, women are more likely to favour Labour or Liberal policies such as higher taxes to fund provisions like the NHS. They also tend to earn less than men so won’t be as hard-hit by higher taxation. As a man fathers more daughters, he will gradually be won round by their more Left-wing viewpoints.

The researchers wrote: ‘This paper provides evidence that daughters make people more Left-wing, while having sons, by contrast, makes them more Right-wing. As men acquire female children, those men gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the “female” desire for a larger amount for the public good. ‘They become more Left-wing. Similarly a mother with sons becomes sympathetic to the “male” case for lower taxes and a smaller supply of public goods”.

They found that among parents of with between two to four children who voted for Labour or the Lib Dems, the average number of daughters was higher than average number of sons. The study is backed up by recent findings in America that showed US congressmen were more likely to support gender equality policies if they had daughters. The authors concluded that parents realise the potential struggles their daughters will face and begin to sympathise with them.

Brad Pitt told a US TV show: ‘Yes, I have got family on the mind. Jen and I have been working something out. Little girls, they just crush me - they break my heart.’ Sylvester Stalone, star of the Rocky films, admitted he altered his career path and chose more emotive roles after the birth of his daughter Sophia in 1996. He said: ‘The birth of my daughter was a subtle indication of the way I should go. I want to get back to more emotional, character-driven films.’

Note: I wish it weren’t so, but dissecting leftism does not supply story links.

Loans that fit a Families Income are Now the Third Wave of Foreclosures. Republicans Scramble to Blame Someone?

Where are the Republicans now, as solid home owners lose their jobs and slip into foreclosure?

How will they blame those irresponsible low income buyers for the current wave of families losing their homes to job losses and a dry employment market? Who the hell are they going to vilify now?

New York Times: As job losses rise, growing numbers of American homeowners with once solid credit are falling behind on their mortgages, amplifying a wave of foreclosures. In the latest phase of the nation’s real estate disaster, the locus of trouble has shifted from subprime loans — those extended to home buyers with troubled credit — to the far more numerous prime loans issued to those with decent financial histories. “We’re about to have a big problem,” said Morris A. Davis, a real estate expert at the University of Wisconsin.

Economists refer to the current surge of foreclosures as the third wave, distinct from the initial spike when speculators gave up property because of plunging real estate prices, and the secondary shock, when borrowers’ introductory interest rates expired and were reset higher. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s said, “That loss of jobs and loss of overtime hours and being forced from a full-time to part-time job is resulting in defaults. They’re coast to coast.”

Those sliding into foreclosure today are more likely to be modest borrowers whose loans fit their income than the consumers of exotically lenient mortgages that formerly typified the crisis. expects that 60 percent of the mortgage defaults this year will be set off primarily by unemployment, up from 29 percent last year.

We were warned of a wage “race to the bottom. “ But we loved the cheap products from China, We loved the cheap outsourced services from India.

I’m part of this new wave. I lost my job due to a recent business closing. Anticipating the worst, I recently managed to refinance my 15 year mortgage to a 30 year at 4.875 percent. That’s a change from $1003 to $582 a month payment. The rent I receive from my upper flat will help pay almost all of that monthly payment. It will slow the losses from paying our other bills. But obviously, we’re not out of the woods yet. Renewing our health care insurance is out of the question now.

Oddly, I mentioned my plight in a brief “lost my income” post on a Facebook running conversation, and didn’t get a response. My close friends were caught in “fun” tests and radio station promotions. Some even dreaded the thought of yard work.

Crazy Socialist Germans have Created 250,000 New "Green Jobs." Don't You Hate Europe?

Republicans are pretty angry these days. They're angry about everything. They're angry about mandating higher fuel economy for the cars we drive even though it will save them money at the pump and create a healthier auto industry. They're worried cars will cost and extra $600 more because of the mandate, forgetting the free market might negate the added charge. Paying $4 a gallon is a fading memory. They're against unsightly wind farms but rabid supporters of oil wells and refineries dotting our landscape. Most egregious is their constant criticism of our friend and trading partner Europe.

Republicans will have none of the more innovative ideas and government successes of "socialist" Europe. U.S. exceptionalism is the answer to all our problems. It is also the anchor around our necks. Take green jobs for instance. To conservatives, the jobs created by a green economy is just a liberal wet dream.

Or is it?

President Obama says investing in a “green economy” can create 5 million jobs in the next 10 years. How? The answer may lie in Germany. The country that is home to Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen is on its way to making its green sector larger than its auto industry by 2020, according to a recent study.

Germany has developed 250,000 new jobs in renewable energy, including nearly 50,000 wind-power jobs in the last five years alone.

The government worked to promote a green culture through all levels of society. ”We started with simpler parts, like automating systems in office buildings to use less power,” says Elmar Bollin, a director of research in Baden-Württemberg. Financial incentives were given to people who retrofitted their homes with renewable sources.

The green-jobs creation program costs the average German family $38 per year on its utility bill.

The country leads Europe in developing and exporting green technology, generating $240 billion in annual revenue. And the German government continues to lead by example: Its parliament building is set to run solely on green energy. — Susan Fine, Parade Magazine

No way. Germans must be crazy to pay an extra $38 a year, just to create jobs and become a world leader in exported green technology.

And anyway, who wants to be like Europe?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Media, Democrats Now Piling on Barack Obama with "Straw men."

After a little over four months in office, President Barack Obama has been abandoned by the Democratic Party on Gitmo and health care, two major issues that required guts and conviction. We are now treated to a public policy that continues to serve the power elite and phony wedge campaigns by the GOP. I know, it sounds clichéd, but what else can you say about the way things are turning out. For instance, in the NY Times:

Democrats often complained about President George W. Bush’s frequent use of a rhetorical device as old as rhetoric itself: creating the illusion of refuting an opponent’s argument by mischaracterizing it and then knocking down that mischaracterization … guess who is knocking down straw men left and right? To listen to President Obama, a veritable army of naysayers has invaded Washington, urging him to sit on his hands at the White House and do nothing to address any of the economic or national security problems facing the country.

“There are those who say these plans are too ambitious, that we should be trying to do less, not more,” Mr. Obama told a town-hall-style meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif., on March 18. “Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.” Mr. Obama did not specify who, exactly, was saying America should ignore its challenges.

Good god! I thought even a simpleton would be able to grasp the idea that Republicans have for the last eight years ignored everything that has now crumbled around us in this recession.The party of NO.” THE NAYSAYERS. The same Republicans who are complaining the president is taking on too many issues. Am I hallucinating or are the writers of this Times piece completely out to lunch? Then another article had this bogus topic:
If there was one thing both presidential candidates agreed on last fall, it was the need to close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Now the consensus from the campaign trail has dissolved, leaving Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike at odds with the White House. Talk radio and cable news hosts warned viewers that dangerous terrorists might end up in a neighborhood jail, Senate Democrats, who last week broke with their president to join a 90-to-6 vote against funds to close Guantánamo, faulted the White House for failing to provide political cover by reassuring the public that he had a clear plan the for the prisoners.
It appears the Democrats left Obama dangling with one of the parties biggest campaign cries, close Gitmo. Brilliant. Now we can debate this ridiculous emotional wedge issue for months while health care reform slips to the back burner. Didn’t we just have eight years of kicking the can down the road with psycho babble delay tactics.

What the hell are the Democrats doing? The blue dog Democrats are just as big an obstacle to the liberal agenda as the GOP.

RIght Wing Blog-Your Entry Through the Looking Glass. It's the "I Know You are But What Am I" Argument.

A gift of laughter, and a lot of projection, from the right wing.

I Want To Be A Liberal

By Nancy Morgan from

I want to be a liberal, because then everyone will like me. My family will start talking to me again, and chances are, my ex-husband will want to renew the marriage vows he broke when I started spouting conservative opinions.

I'd like to be a liberal because its ever so much easier to allow others to form my opinions for me instead of researching an issue myself. That always gets me in trouble, especially when the facts I discover diverge from the latest politically correct consensus.

I'd like to be a liberal because then I'd be rewarded for all my shortcomings and nothing would ever be my fault. I'd be an important cog in the wheel of social justice, and a cherished warrior in the current fight for equality.

If I were a liberal, I would be free to have sex whenever and with whomever I want - and be considered 'empowered' to boot. I could abort any inconvenience with nary a thought because my rights to my body trump the life I would have suctioned out of me.

I'd like to be a liberal because any guilt I would normally feel for what used to be considered deviant, irresponsible behavior may be assuaged by merely advocating the expenditure of other people's money on whatever the cause du jour is. Very cool. Especially since my stock portfolio has been pretty much decimated.

I want to be a liberal because they care so much. They have a lock on all the fashionable emotions, like tolerance, diversity, equality and patriotism. And as long as my intentions are pure and I 'care', I won't have to accept responsibility for any negative consequences that my actions might cause.

I'd like to be a liberal because everyone knows that conservatives are racist, homophobic, stupid and, well, beneath contempt. Conservatives are motivated by gasp, profit, instead of being nice. Enough said.

I'd like to be a liberal because I'd be able to redefine reality to my own specifications. I could turn failure into success, murder into choice, lies into 'misstatements', and theft into investment. I would automatically be considered wise, instead of opinionated. Best of all, I could make up the rules as I go along, change them in midstream and then demonize anyone who doesn't agree with me.

I want to be a liberal because everyone knows they hold the moral high ground. They don't lie, cheat or steal. Oh, and they don't condone torture. The media says so, so it must be true.

Before I am able to join this community of man, however, there are a few ground rules:

I have to acknowledge that government is the best and only solution for any problems America has. Despite the fact that pretty much every government solution to date has been a disaster.

I must agree that America is bad and white Christian males are responsible for all that is wrong with the world. Further, I must agree that terrorists and third world dictators are either freedom fighters or misunderstood men of good will. Oh, and I must acknowledge that dialogue is better than war. Even though decades of dialogue haven't worked, things are different, now that Obama is president. I must have faith. After all, the times, they are a changin'.

I'd, of course, be expected to not only condone, but happily embrace gay marriage and the long list of newly minted sexual behaviors, and swear to never mention the adverse health risks or the proven harm they do to traditional families.

I'd also have to quit judging people (except for conservatives). After all, liberals will allow me to do whatever I want, free from moral censure, and its only fair I do the same for them.

I'd have to immediately quit smoking, in public at least. I'd be required to agree that global warming is real and man is the cause. Even though the earth has cooled in the last decade, everyone knows its still getting warmer. I'd also have to renounce Christianity in favor of Mother Earth and believe that the Constitution is a 'living instrument'.

I'd have to agree that victimhood trumps merit and that liberals know best. Always. And lastly, I'd have to support the notion that racism is still rampant, even if it is the silent 'institutional' type.

In return, I'll be accepted, popular, and invited to the best parties. I'll be eligible for the right to housing, health care, a living wage (even if I don't work) and happiness. And as long as I remain a liberal, no-one is allowed to insult me. How cool is that?

I'll finally get my columns published in my own hometown paper and will have a good chance of getting face time on MSNBC. Best of all, I'll be able to atone for my sins by merely paying Algore for a few carbon credits. Then, I will live happily ever after. Isn't that worth sacrificing such ethereal and frivolous notions like freedom, individualism and principles?

The Bottom Line Truth About the GOP: “…the private sector is broken, and Republicans won’t even acknowledge that fact.”

Steve Rundio, the Perspective Page editor of Tomah Journal, wrote a wonderful piece titled “Republicans could use help from private sector.”

The core selling point of a conservative political party is that the private sector is inherently more efficient, dynamic and ethical than the public sector. That’s a hard sell these days.

It was the private sector, not the government, that got the bright idea to insure bundled mortgages.

It’s a private-sector bureaucrat, not a government bureaucrat, who’s more likely to stand between a patient and the health care he or she needs.

It’s the private sector, not the government, that can change your credit card interest rate on a whim.It’s the private sector, not the government, that outsources call centers to India.

It’s a private-sector executive, not a government bureaucrat, who can leverage an eight-figure golden parachute for running a failed enterprise.

It’s a private-sector executive, not a government bureaucrat, who’s more likely to spend $1.2 million renovating an office.

It’s not a concession for Republicans to embrace the notion of civic virtue and acknowledge areas where the free market is producing outcomes most Americans reject (income distribution, for example). Conservative columnist David Brooks, however, implies Republicans don’t get it:“The Republicans talk more about the market than about society, more about income than quality of life. They celebrate capitalism, which is a means, and are inarticulate about the good life, which is the end.”

The problem is that much of the private sector is broken, and Republicans won’t even acknowledge that fact, much less acknowledge any of its consequences. Perhaps that’s appropriate. The revival of the Republican Party is, at its very core, a private-sector enterprise.

Thanks again to for finding this nugget.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

State Republicans Demand Higher Unemployment Numbers.

Thanks to for this seemly insignificant budgetary story. Looking at it a little closer, we can get a clearer picture of the scorched earth policies of our state Republican lawmakers. These conservative carnival barkers never met a family they didn’t think could handle a total loss of life sustaining income, especially during a recession they created.
AP-Up to 1,400 state employees could be laid off under a new budget-balancing plan announced Thursday that cuts funding for state agencies, schools and local governments.
With record high unemployment already, shrinking family budgets and non-existent consumer spending, adding huge numbers of public employees to the rolls would seem to make matters worse. But state Republicans are claiming they would have gotten rid of even more state employees during the last budget negotiation stalemate. They wanted to slash $3 billion and cut thousands of public jobs. Of course, that crazy scheme would have been completely unnecessary had they not blocked over $3 billion dollars worth of increased revenue streams from those not paying their fair share of taxes. Cutting jobs in a recession would seem counter productive, but not to Republicans.

The cuts to government spending are commendable, but Doyle's plan will raise taxes, said Rep. Robin Vos, R-Racine, a member of the budget committee. He noted Doyle's endorsement of a 75-cent fee to be paid by cell phone users that will offset cuts in aid to local governments.

"He took the easy route out," Vos said, saying government should be cut more.

Conveniently, Vos like every other Republican, has never had the courage to show the public where they would cut government. But you might recall, even when the local postal officials centralized their distribution centers to rein in a $2 billion federal shortfall, the states Congressional Republicans Ryan and Sensenbrenner were successful getting the spending cuts repealed because of... are you ready...later delivery times.

Banana Display, a Guy in a Gorilla Suit and a Confused Public! out did the Onion with this story of a gorilla suited banana display thief. You'll love the video, you delight in the written piece below.


Fond du Lac police are scratching their heads. A bandit dressed a gorilla ran into two Kwik Trip stores grabbed the foam banana display and split!

And no one seems to know why.

But this banana thief slipped up. The attempted crime was caught on one store's surveillance video. Police released the grainy images in the hopes that someone might recognize the ape and turn him in.

Police received several calls last night from people who claim to have seen the "ape" hanging around, but the thief still on the loose.

They say it could be anything from a senior prank to someone making a video for the internet. Still, until the banana bandit is corralled, people in Fond du Lac will remain confused.

Republicans Defined: The Undeniable “Fear” Factor.

It's all about FEAR.

I have been trying to figure out for a long time why conservatives thinking is confusing and convoluted. I kept hearing in my head, over an over, the now famous Robot line from Lost In Space "That does not compute." It's not like I don't know any right wingers.

My long time best friend in Milwaukee is a born again, gun toting (against state law) conservative. I’ve tried to understand why certain issues bother him enough to call me and complain. He worries that lazy people and the poor want to take his money. He defends the wealthy against repressive taxation that he thinks discourages the rich from trying to become even richer. He also wonders why Democrats want to cavort with terrorists. Why?


The most recent example of twisted fearful logic revolves around the debate highlighting the dangers of bringing Gitmo detainees to the U.S. for trial and incarceration. Many Americans were left scratching their heads trying to figure out how anyone could make the claims that Gitmo detainees would be allowed to go free, live in our local communities, and draw taxpayer supported welfare checks to help them fit in.

The reaction in the video below from conservative radio talk host Heidi Harris finally provided the answer.

Every conservative characteristic I’ve described so far is based on “FEAR.” The fear that someone is getting something for nothing. The fear that terrorists will strike again. The fear that being unarmed will expose us to all the hidden dangers that lurk around us. The fear that government (we the people?), and not monopolistic corporate power, will take our freedoms away. The very idea of housing detainees and exposing them to our justice system "does not compute" for Harris or Sen. Thune. Detainees are evil first and never innocent. These horrified Americans are living in spine-tingling FEAR!

Torture is another clarifying example. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, in a recent number of interviews, drove the point home when he bottomed lined Dick Cheney’s response to 9/11: “It’s clear that he’s frightened,” and “Cheney is a man who frightens easily.” (search this blog for “Wilkerson”). In fact, it was Wilkerson who brought about my epiphany.

Finally, Eric L. Lewis, an attorney representing Guantanamo and Afghan detainees, wrote this for the Huffington Post:

Former Vice President Cheney has masterfully shifted the debate about torture from the realm of law and ethics to that of pure efficacy. Cheney wants to take what is a stark legal and moral issue and turn it into yet another Washington "some argue this; some argue that" controversy. It is a clever bureaucratic maneuver ... The absolute prohibition on torture is not based on a consensus that it never works. Rather, it is based on the sad realization that the impulse to torture is ever-present; that human beings who are frightened or zealous or full of rage -- as human beings invariably are -- will feel a powerful need to torture and a powerful justification for acting on that need.

We do not balance the costs and benefits to see if torture works because there will always be some argument that can be made that it works or it might work or people believed at the time that it would. By refocusing on whether torture worked, Vice President Cheney wants to deflect attention from the fact that civilized legal systems make torture criminal precisely because we are ever tempted that it might work.

Again, “human beings who are frightened or zealous or full of rage -- as human beings invariably are…” is a reaction common among conservatives. This is a visceral gut feeling that bypasses all common sense or discussion. A shield of self defense that makes them who they are; Republicans.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wilkerson on Cheney: "It's clear that he's frightened...the Church of Cheney"

Here are a few very short clips of Dick "crazy" Cheney's twisted view of reality. What follows is this quick hit from Sen. Tom Harkin: "..almost a pathetic figure, I mean this person must live in fear every day...what a terrible way to spend your life." But don't stop there.

You really have to listen to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's analysis of Dick Cheney. In fact, search this blog for everything "Wilkerson" and you will be entertained by his smash mouth description of our former vice president and current psychopath, Darth Cheney. Remember, not only is Wilkerson a Republican, but he was also Colin Powell's chief of staff. He knows this guy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the Most Outragous Display of Arrogance, Cheney's Angry Authoritarian Speech Historically Appalling

I've never seen anything like Dick Cheney's bitch session with fellow darksiders on the merits of torture and a shredded Constitution.

Unprofessional and petty, Cheney lies and convolutes reality into a twisted and frightening world of pending doom. As the ultimate authoritarian, refusing to give up power to anyone, Cheney has decided to stay in the lime light until he has convinced everyone there is only one way to do things; his way.

I've edited this to include my favorite despotic moments along with comments from Lawrence O'Donnell and Chris Matthews.

Are we not Consumers? Credit Card Companies Need Us Too.

It’s time to fight back against the credit card bank threats of higher interest rates and fees for good customers along with their riskier accounts. Those riskier accounts rake in billions for the card companies, and they like it. But we aren’t helpless.

Fight back with PayPal. I have been a customer of PayPal for years, a skeptical customer, who didn’t like giving any control of my credit card and checking account information to one company. But they have proven themselves over the years to be consumer friendly and vigilant in their fight against fraud. But enough of my sales pitch. Let’s get back to fighting the credit card banks attempting to bully their prized good customers.

Besides being bad for business, it’s hard to imagine any company threatening to penalize their customers with higher fees and fines. That’s what they have done in their typically corporate arrogant fashion. But we have alternatives.

First, use PayPal to pay for online purchases. Trust me on this.

Pay all purchases by directly withdrawing money from your checking account. Some may feel uncomfortable doing this, but I have done this before with great success and security. I highly recommend this method of payment for now, and for as long as the credit card banks try to reach into our pockets one more time. Remember the bailouts? Simply send the message we don’t need ‘em.

The following article from the NY Times explains the elitist banks position on their consumer “friendly” service. Power mad might be one way of describing their mindset.
Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit. Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.

Edward Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, which has been lobbying Congress for more lenient legislation on behalf of the nation’s biggest banks (said), “Those that manage their credit well will in some degree subsidize those that have credit problems.”
Thank you very much. Question: you want OUR business?

…Major banks including American Express, Citigroup, Bank of America and a long
list of others have already begun to raise interest rates, and some have set their sights on consumers who pay their bills on time. The legislation does not cap interest rates, so banks can continue to lift them, albeit at a slower pace and with greater disclosure. People who routinely pay off their credit card balances have been enjoying the equivalent of a free ride, he said.

...“Despite all the terrible things that have been said, you’re making out like a bandit,” he said. “That’s a third of credit card customers, 50 million people who have gotten a great deal.” …the amount of money generated by penalty fees like late charges and exceeding credit limits had increased by about $1 billion annually in recent years, and should top $20 billion this year. Regulations passed by the Federal Reserve in December to curb unexpected interest charges would cost issuers about $12 billion a year in lost fees and income, according to industry calculations.

Austan Goolsbee, an economic adviser to President Obama, said that while the credit card industry had the right to make a reasonable profit as long as its contracts were in plain language and rule-breakers were held accountable, its current practices were akin to “a series of carjackings.” “The card industry is giving the argument that if you didn’t want to be carjacked, why weren’t you locking your doors or taking a different road?” Mr. Goolsbee

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Republicans Offer Universal Health Care Endorsed by the Insurance Industry. What a Plan.

The Republicans revealed today their own plan for universal health care. Basically, if you can afford health care now you will be able to get it, and if you can't, you'll be sitting on a nice tax credit that will only pay for a third to half of your yearly premium. Not to mention a sizable out of pocket deductible. Oh, and you'll still have to deal with trying to get coverage from an insurance company, the life blood of good health. Notice the term, universal "access," which means it's there for everyone, if you can afford it. You have to ask: Are they kidding?

Insurance Journal: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn along with U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin introduced legislation, The Patients' Choice Act of 2009, that shares the goal of the opposite party: the promotion of universal access to quality, affordable health care.

Here's my analysis of the plan, with my comments first:

Do you back a plan endorsed by the insurance industries?: The public option has been opposed by health insurers, agents and conservative groups.

Shop till you literally drop option: Create state health insurance exchanges to allow Americans to compare different private market health insurance policies

Keep the insurance companies in the loop: Create a non-profit, independent board to risk adjust among participating insurance companies.

Spend tons of taxpayer money on the uninsurable (how can somebody be “uninsurable” if we have universal access?):Gives states the ability to band together in regional pooling arrangements, as well as risk pools, reinsurance markets, or risk adjustment mechanisms to cover those deemed uninsurable.

Small tax Credits that does nothing to contain costs or make care more affordable when premiums are $10,000 to $15,000 a year on average: Give every American a advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,300 per individual or $5,700 per family.

I have a health savings account that goes up$1200 a year with a $10,000 deductible. You have to have the money first to pay for an (HAS) and lots of money to maintain it: It would also seek to improve the operation of Health Savings Accounts by allowing health insurance premiums to be paid with HSAs without a tax penalty and raising the amount of money HSA owners may annually contribute to their account.

Health care insurance companies are private for profit businesses (even the nonprofit) that have been cherry picking customers and pricing people out of coverage for years, creating the current crisis. Leave it to a Republican to somehow blame the government instead of these blood sucking insurance company middlemen.

Senator Tom Coburn said, "As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable and accessible. The American people deserve health care reform that will work, not another round of so-called reform that repeats the same failed policies of the past.”

Rep. Paul Ryan said, "The Patients' Choice Act represents a clear alternative to those who seek to empower Washington at the expense of the individual…”

…and the highly profitable insurance industry, right Paul? I wonder how the Wall Street Journal will spin it:

Who will control the system? Doctors and patients, or politicians and regulators? That's the crux of this year's health-care debate. The Republican proposal makes the choice clear.

I’m sorry, but shouldn’t that have read “Doctors, INSURANCE COMPANIES and patients?” Its strange how magically invisible the insurance companies are in the minds of conservatives. Odd too when you take into consideration that 20 to 35 cents out of every dollars goes to “administrative costs.” I thought they hate bloated bureaucracies, even private ones.

Low-income Americans would get a to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs. They would have an incentive to spend wisely since up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The combination of the refundable tax credit and a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 gives lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid ghetto so they can have the dignity of private insurance.

That’s the line, isn’t it? “…THE DIGNITY OF PRIVATE INSURANCE.”

Now don’t you just hate these bastards?

The Democratic “Cry Uncle" Party Allows Loaded Guns in National Parks. Obama Soft on Legislative Insanity.

A Republican Congress and president couldn’t pass a gun bill allowing national parks visitors from carrying loaded and concealed weapons, but a Democratic Congress and president are about to do just that. And it’s down the rabbit hole again, this time with our spineless liberals friends, and the NRA driven right wingers notching a big one for fellow fringers.

While Democrats fold under pressure from Republicans about removing unrelated amendments on important legislation, those same rules don’t seem to apply to the party of conservative gun crazy bullies that inhabit our Congress. Instead of shaming Republicans for slipping the amendment in, even Obama is slinking away from any confrontation, Democrats appear to be encouraging similar amendments into future legislation.

I’m disowning the Democratic Party right now. The NY Times:

Advocates of gun rights are poised to win a Congressional victory that eluded them under a Republican president. House and Senate lawmakers and aides say it now appears likely that President Obama will this week sign into law a provision allowing visitors to national parks and refuges to carry loaded and concealed weapons. The gun provision … was added to a popular measure imposing new rules on credit card companies. But the Democrats who now control both Congress and the White House appear ready to allow it to survive rather than derail a consumer-friendly credit card measure.

“Timing is everything in politics,” said Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma and the champion of the gun proposal. Gun control and conservation groups … joined top House Democrats in lamenting the inability of Senate Democrats to prevent Republicans from adding such politically charged proposals to unrelated legislation.

More gun crazy crap is on its way:

A gun measure has also tied up a bill granting the District of Columbia full voting representation in the House, and Republicans are readying other gun rights initiatives for future consideration.

For their part, backers of the gun provision were relishing their looming victory. “After using every legislative trick in the book to prevent a vote on gun rights, Democrat leaders are finally crying uncle and clearing the way for Congress to reinstate the Bush policy,” said Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, senior Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Out with the Democratic Party, in with the Cry Uncle Party, or "CUP."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guns Aren't Dangerous, Unless Somebody Uses One to Kill You.

In a typically Republican move, AG J.B. Van Hollen never thought a "simple" minded opinion would bring out raft of gun crazy zealots, brandishing their hardware for all the frightened public to see. Besides crashing the economy, starting two wars, shredding the Constitution and outsourcing American jobs, add a loss of public safety to the list.
AP-About 200 people showed up for a picnic in La Crosse County which was organized to promote openly carrying firearms. About half came packing heat. Sunday's weather cooperated for the open carry picnic at Marvin Garden's Park in the Town of Onalaska. Organizer Hubert Hoffman says the event promotes the recent opinion from the Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who said those who openly carry firearms should not be cited for disorderly conduct. Hoffman says the event show that people who openly carry a gun are not a threat.

Open carry isn't a threat unless of course someone kills you. Then it's just an isolated incident. But the gun crazy news doesn't stop there:
Jsonline: A dangerous gun amendment has been attached to the "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009" by U.S Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). The rider would force the National Park Service to permit the carrying of loaded guns in parks, battlefields, monuments, historic sites and wilderness areas.

Senator Coburn's (R-OK) amendment would allow individuals to openly carry assault rifles, handguns and shotguns in National Parks if the firearm is in compliance with state law.

Permitting loaded guns in our national parks poses a threat to wildlife, visitors, and park rangers.

Hey, aren't the Republicans the ones who don't like amendments like this slipped into other bills because it doesn't allow a public debate on the issues ...Oh, except when they do it.

Never mind.

Single Payer’s “Long Lines” or No Care and a Lifetime Injury that didn’t have to be that way?

When you ask your friendly conservative state representative about government health care insurance, you’ll hear the scary stories of long lines for elective surgery and some strange bureaucrat wedging themselves between you and your doctor.

Of course, they never have a single horror story about the inhumane health care system we have right now. They are strangely silent. Are we to suppose they have never heard from any one of their constituents who may have had a problem? Maybe they missed the hundreds of stories published yearly in the newspapers. Like this story:

Wisconsin State Journal: A Beloit Wisconsin mom’s two sons suffered a nightmarish car crash, leaving “a bone sticking out of one of her son's legs, and the collarbone and shoulder blade of the other son cracked into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. Federal law required the emergency room to treat the young men, even though they had no insurance. No law guaranteed care after that. Her youngest son, 23, was discharged in a few days."I had to clean his open wounds," Hovland-Moffitt recalls. "For 26 days he sat in my recliner, screaming with pain. I begged the emergency room to take him back."

Finally in September, he had surgery to piece together his shoulder with a metal plate. By then, he had lost much of the use of his arm, she says.But his mom fears that the health problems he has now could bar him from ever again qualifying for private health insurance. "No mom should have to ask this question," she says. "If we could get him insurance, would he be able to use his arm again?"

There really shouldn’t even be a debate. But we entertain their side of the argument as if they made any sense or presented a valid position. Why?

Maybe the visual image of impatient Republicans waiting in “long lines” is much worse than someone losing the use of their arm. Let the endless, pointless, debates continue…..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Republicans Hate Getting their Mail Later in the Day. Smaller Government be Damned.

So if you were wondering what really mattered most to Republicans Party members when it came to government services, like food assistance, medical help or getting your mail on time, the latter would the no-brainer answer.
In a ruthlessly bizarre story of detachment, cutting government to the bone and doing with less only matters when it affects “other people.” And I thought we all had to make sacrifices.
Milwaukee Journal: As the U.S. Postal Service searches for $2 billion in spending cuts, residents in several Wisconsin communities are objecting to changes at their post offices.Consolidation of mail carriers in Oconomowoc, West Bend, Oak Creek and elsewhere has stirred complaints that mail is being delivered late and that residents feel neglected. "I'm old school - I'm used to getting my mail by noon," said Brian Wiemer, an Oconomowoc Town Board member. In Waukesha, business owners fear that cutbacks in mail collection hours will undermine their ability to conduct business.
Don’t forget: We all have to tighten our belts. We all have to sacrifice. Get government out of the way.

Some have found a sympathetic ear in an influential place: their (Republican) congressman. U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan both have intervened successfully on behalf of constituents who were unhappy with planned belt-tightening measures at their post office. In both cases, the Postal Service shelved its plans and re-examined its cost-cutting strategies.

Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Menomonee Falls, said that while he does not have an alternative plan for trimming costs, he found the cuts being imposed in southeastern Wisconsin to be too disruptive to customers. "You've got to remind the Postal Service repeatedly that their last name is service," he said.

You meant to say another big bureaucratic government entitlement, didn’t you Mr. Senselessbrenner? Should we be surprised that Sensenbrenner had no “alternative plan for trimming costs?” Still, cutting taxes and the size of government sounds so good, in a conservative sorta way.

Ryan and Sensenbrenner are the same two guys to come out against job retraining money for displaced factory workers. But when it comes to getting your mail later in the day, good GOD, are you crazy!

The Nagging Pain that is Brett Favre. Is it Too Hard to Retire as a National Legend?

Since I'm a big Green Bay Packer fan, I've been saddened by the mindless job hopping dance of Brett Favre, and the pain I would have to endure seeing him in purple. We hate the Vikings more than anything, like Dick Cheney, and fear the memories of Brett's days here will forever be tainted. It's a story that has no end...

So here is local politcal song writer Peter Leidy (lie-dee), with his cathartic venting from WPT's Here and Now.

I'm Making the Transition....

Because I've been converting my home theatre to digital, I've been prevented from using any video clips in my blog. It's a little thing called copy protection. I didn't know you couldn't copying high definition or digital television to DVD. Low def analog video is allowed, how nice.

I do have a few non-video stories to load up, so I'll be back into the swing again starting today.

There Really is a Group Called Mothers Against Illegal Aliens. No Really.

I think the "Mothers Against..." and "Mothers For..." franchise of fear has run its course. Instead of squandering money on saving our economy, we should be building a border fence to keep the dramatically DECREASING numbers of workers from crossing into the U.S.

Guess they don't read the paper much.

I don't know who the guest host was, filling in for Neil Cavuto, but his crazy line-up of guests bordered on frightening. I may post a few more numbskulls posing as pundit know-it-alls sometime later.

Supply and Demand, Gas Prices and Health Care Profits.

Two amazing stories that illistrate just how “free” we really are, contrary to the Republan rhetoric that warns we’re losing our freedom, and how helpless we are under the control of corporate kingdoms. First, health care…

Huffington Post: Just four days after standing next to President Obama and declaring their commitment to control health care costs to the tune of $2 trillion over 10 years, the insurance industry, drug and medical device makers, and hospital groups are backing off their promise.

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise to reduce the growth of health spending. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not
pledge specific year-by-year cuts. "There's been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members," said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association.

First, these groups are showing their true, dishonest colors. He and other health care executives said they had agreed to squeeze health spending so the annual rate of growth would eventually be 1.5 percentage points lower. One of the lobbyists … said the savings would "ramp up" gradually as the growth of health spending slowed. Another said "there was no specific understanding" of when the lower growth rate would be achieved. "It's a target over a 10-year period.

It's about profits. Every dollar of health care "waste" in the system, every dollar that goes somewhere other than to your health, that's a dollar more in the pockets of a rich hospital administrator or insurance industry CEO.

I know, big surprise right? It was kind of. But then this story hit me the wrong way after arguing for so many years there really isn’t a free market or real “supply and demand.” But then, you probably knew that.
AP: Oil prices continue to rise even though demand has hit its lowest level since Sept. 11, 2001. Crude inventories are at their highest levels since 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. “They’re buying just to buy into the momentum,” said analyst and treader Stephen Schork. “No one is looing at the fundamentals.”
Didn’t we hear over and over how China is using so much more oil now and speculators we’re just doing their jobs. Oil companies that were demanding “drill baby drill” have no profit incentive to do just that, and demand is nothing but a load of BS.

This recession has pulled away the curtain on our corporate owners. Milton Friedman has his group of followers marching happily off the cliff, taking us all with them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Liz Cheney Defends the Indefensible: Her Father and Torture. GOP's Philosophical Argument Baffling.

Two clips in the defense of torture, a winning strategy for Republicans. This clip offers offers up a lesson in relativity, where everything is equal, and a ploy by the GOP to obfuscate and muddy the waters on every problematic issue they refuse to solve. Republican strategist Karen Hanretty promotes, without blinking, the idea that nothing is right or wrong.

The Center for Competitive Politics wrote:

"A falsely flat statement in one person's eyes is a modest exaggeration in another person's eyes is the honest truth in yet a third person's eyes."

In yet another case of defending torture ( I can't believe their doing this), Liz Cheney steps out to defend her psychopathic daddy, Dick. While Jessie Ventura offers a solution to the debate we all could agree with, Chris Matthews adds his own reaction to Liz Cheney's stunningly ridiculous statement.

We're All Socialists Now, Aren't We Pat Buchanan?

The RNC's attempt to officially rename the Democratic Party the Democrat Socialist Party is not just idiotic, but untrue. Republicans are just as complicit in advancing the socialist agenda, they just do it in small incremental ways when it benefits them.

Hardball's Chris Matthews gets Pat Buchanan to admit socialism is popular and supported by the Republicans, now and in the past. It's also political suicide to do away with it, except for the 20 percent base of ideologues who don't know better. Lawrence O'Donnell makes Buchanan fess up, in a way...

Forget Everything You Might have Heard, the American Beverage Assc. Says: Soda Doesn't Make You Fat, It's Just Fun.

I have to admit, I never saw the a proposal to tax sugary soda pop products coming, but then, I don't think it's a bad idea either. Federal and State governments are already taxing alcoholic beverages, so why not god awful soda. Sugar water with coloring.

Stephen Colbert did a great commentary on this the other night. I don't know how they found it, but check out the President of the American Beverage Association's Susan Neely's hilarious comment about the often picked on soda drink. It is one of the dumbest, ready made for a comedy show lampooning, comments of the year so far. (If you don't have the time to watch the whole clip, her comment is at about 2:10)

GOP: Party without Substance. Smear Pelosi and Support CIA Torturers.

I like the idea that the Democratic Party has chosen to oppose torture. It fun, in a surreal way, to listen to sadistic Republican torture advocates seek support and affirmation for the most un-American form of information gathering known to man. For instance, Sen. Kit Bond's response to Pelosi’s recent comments:
AP - Congressional Republicans are rushing to defend the CIA after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the spy agency of misleading her and other lawmakers about its use of waterboarding during the Bush administration. "I think it's a tragedy that we are seeing this massive attack on our intelligence community which has kept us safe," Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show where he questioned why Pelosi was "going after the agency and calling them liars."
Oh by the way, “Bond said he was not with Pelosi when the spy agency briefed her.” So of course, he would be qualified to dispute Pelosi story, right? That ignores the fact that: The CIA was widely criticized for its intelligence gathering prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and faced questions about its information on suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the start of the war in March 2003. The weapons were never found.
Not quite a record of stellar accuracy. Bond would have to criticize former Sen. Bob Graham:
The Atlantic Monthly: Sen. Graham says that some of the briefings in which he was allegedly filled in about waterboarding and related techniques never occurred. This matters, because the CIA's claims are part of the same argument that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress had known about and acquiesced to waterboarding all the way along. Graham also has a specific reputation for keeping detailed daily records of people he met and things they said. He's sometimes been mocked for this compulsive practice, but he's never been doubted
about the completeness or accuracy of what he compiles.
Sen. Kit Bond would rather wave the flag again in blind allegiance supporting “our intelligence community which has kept us safe,” the CIA.

That specifically disputes what part of Pelosi’s statements, Kit?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

American Workers Paid to Much to Be Competitive, reports CNN

I hate to admit it but I used to watch Lou Dobbs. I think he's crazy now (he was probably crazy then too). But I was amazed by this recent report, about the dramatic wage disparity between overpaid federal workers and private sector employees, for it brazen admission that the real problem lies in our benefits packages. That's right, whiny working stiffs think their entitled to benefits, on top of their exorbitant "living paycheck to paycheck" wages. Take special note of the people making their wild observations, especially the last guy who rambles incoherently.

Rush the Racist Limbaugh! Was there ever a Question?

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow says all that needs to be said about Boss Limbaugh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Medicare Rip-off Artist Rick Scott is the Oppositions Face Against Health Care Reform

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is so good at focusing like a laser on the people and impediments to a healthy America.

Gov. Candidate Walker Denies Responsibility for Rising Jobless Rate in His County!

The man that would be Governor Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, appeared on Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-shay), expecting an easy interview filled with pat answers. What he got were a few tough questions that seemed to take the conservative shine off his slick carnival barker persona. Even though Walker's got a record most politicians would be inclined to keep from the media bright lights, his lack of self criticism and awareness drives his quest for the top spot in the state.

Walker: "Everybody else is tightening their belts...I would start in state government...that would be wage and benefits."

My question: If tax increases are bad in a down economy because it reduces the amount of money consumers have to spend, how are wage and benefit reductions any different?

Walker: (On doing away with more state jobs) "Yes...we're going to have to look at shrinking the size of government, we're going to have to look at shrinking more importantly, the size of wages and benefits..."

My question: In tough economic times with high unemployment directly draining the state revenues, would it be a good time to add to the unemployment roles that pretty much deplete state safety nets?

Walker: (On Rising unemployment the fault of Democratic Gov. Doyle) "I think it's a global recession, but I think our situation is worse here than most other states..."

Mike Gousha: "There are going to be people who say look, Milwaukee county has the highest poverty rate in the state, we're losing jobs in the city of Milwaukee, your largest municipality at a rate almost unmatched by any other big city. Do you share any responsibility for that?"

Walker: "Everybody does, but the state of Wisconsin has done specific things, policy wise, that have effected jobs here...if you look at the tax increases of $1.2 billion of new taxes..."

Mike Gousha: "Do you think you bare any of the responsibility for the numbers I just mentioned for the poverty rate, for the lack of employment right now in this community?"

Walker: "No, for us that's been an issue for years...politicians don't create jobs or eliminate jobs...!"

Huh! So Gov. Doyle is responsible for rising unemployment, at the same time politicians don't create or eliminate jobs? Which is it Scott? To be clear as mud, Walker believes Gov. Doyle is responsible for the increases in jobless rates in Wisconsin despite the worsening U.S. unemployment figures. Yet after serving 3 terms as Milwaukee County Executive, Walker denies outright any responsibility for dramatically higher jobless rates under his watch because its "been an issue for years." An issue he was elected 3 times to solve or improve upon, an issue Walker apparently has been powerless and too incompetent to reverse.

Walker carries on the Republican tradition of victim hood and passing the buck, while never holding himself accountable for anything.

Keep in mind, Walker wanted to put in place a sales tax holiday at a time when consumers weren't spending money on anything, instead of taking the stimulus money to prevent layoffs and needed infrastructure improvements.

Cheney's Torture Tour a Glimpse into a Sick and Frightened Mind!

Is it just me or have you also noticed how surreal it is to see the Republican Party and Dick Cheney defend violating U.S. and international laws on torture?

The fact that Cheney can justify violating the laws of the land by falsely claiming it will save American lives is perverse. The following is a compilation of statements and refutations on the "tragical torture tour."

Wilkerson on Cheney: "This is Idiocy of the first order Dick Cheney is Puttin' Out."

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow brought back Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson to comment on Dick Cheney's gangbusters torture tour. This is the second time Wilkerson didn't hold anything back. I couldn't have said it better.

Wilkerson: "He has the honor of being the man on who's watch 3000 Americans died."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vouchers Problems Seeing the Light of Day, Advocates Losing Ground

"Why School Vouchers Don't Matter" by Kevin Carey in the Chronicle Review laid out what I consider one of the best arguments against voucher schools (beside my own comments and a few educational blogs listed in the side bar). I’ve shortened the content to highlight his views.
There’s a strong element of artifice to this whole debate. The D.C. voucher program does not represent serious public policy. It was a P.R. move … to the privatization crowd it marginalized by supporting NCLB. The voucher dream has always been to introduce market dynamics to public education ...The D.C. voucher program does none of these things. No new schools have been built as a result, no groundbreaking programs created, competition spurred, or innovators attracted … charter schools are actually creating the whole range of market responses that vouchers are not.

D.C. charter schools are directly accountable to the public and specifically designed to serve urban students. Why would it be better to re-direct public funds to schools that are neither of those things? … the real purpose of school vouchers — givingpeople the opportunity to scramble for the moral high ground of defending disadvantaged youth … In that sense vouchers do have some utility — they separate people who are serious about education policy from people who aren’t. The more you shout and carry on about them, the less you’re paying attention to the issues that really matter.

The one point that needs to be stressed here is “accountable to the public” and “designed for urban students.” For conservatives, accountability is their number one concern, yet never a part of the voucher discussion. But Kevin Carey wasn’t the only one dashing the voucher myth. The following comment hit on a few major considerations.

“…there remains the point that some parents among the lower classes do not understand educational opportunities when they are presented to them. Nor would they be able to make informed choices on their children’s behalf. For instance, just tonight I had a heated discussion with my working class mother about my nephew being admitted into a program for gifted youngsters at his public elementary school. She thought it would be a waste of time. For me, this explains why I received very little emotional support for choosing to get any sort of higher education. To paraphrase my mom: The regular classes are enough.

Some studies suggest that a similar attitude becomes more common the lower down the economic ladder we look. To ignore this obstacle, and pretend every parent has the capacity to make the same informed decision a college- or law school-educated person can make, remains one abiding problem with the voucher system. Choice does not automatically level the playing field if the choosers have different backgrounds informing those choices.— Cassandra

My own two cents: Long waiting lists for good voucher schools leave everyone else the poor to average schools (with no way to weed them out). In the future, corporate buy outs and consolidation will create private for profit school monopolies over time. Tuition increases price parents out of some of the better schools resulting in: Expensive K-12 education savings accounts the poor and middle class will not be able to fund. That in turn creates a class system of education.

One more thing. With the Republican record on race, it’s more than obvious their concern about inner city kids getting a better education is the last thing on their minds. It’s time we stop avoiding the issue and call them on it. Let’s finally get serious.
NOTE: Jim Horn digs deep into the latest Charter school research, including virtual school results that don't look so good. I'm still trying to absorb the information.

Liberal NY Times Buys into "Moderate Plan for Health Care!" Can You Say "Advertisers?"

The supposed “liberal” NY Times appears to like our failing health care system so much, that they had to write this editorial “A Moderate Plan for Health Care,” to support Sen. Schumer’s industry backed compromise. And they wonder why they can’t adapt their newspaper business to a 21st century model. Instead of building a system supported by a super majority of Democrats, lets water it down for the 4 or 5 moderates lawmakers afraid of change:
One can argue over details, but Mr. Schumer is on the right track. It should be possible to design a system in which public and private plans could compete without destroying the private coverage that most Americans have and for the most part want to keep.
Really? Americans, “for the most part,” want to keep the same private system they have now? Nothing like starting with a false premise.
In general, he suggests that a public plan should have to comply with the same rules and standards as private plans.
Another words, separate, but equal to the same dysfunctional system we have now. I’m liking it already.
The public plan could not be supported by tax revenues or government appropriations but by premiums and co-payments. It would have to maintain reserves, like private insurers, and provide the same minimum benefits as all other insurers in the exchange. It could not compel doctors who want to participate in Medicare to also participate in the new public plan. And it would be run by different officials from those who run the insurance exchange to lessen the likelihood that federal officials would give unfair advantages to their program.
Let me see if I’ve got this right: Restructure the public plan by eliminating all the advantages the government already has with Medicare and veterans health care, by building in smaller pools of providers along with similar premiums and deductibles. That would by default force the public plan to add in enough “profit” to help pay for the new plan, without tapping into the largess of the governments buying power.

Now that’s a level playing field and basically no change at all. Two parallel systems with the same disadvantages.

Ah the power of money.