Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Conservatism and Racism one and the same, according to "Leftists" study and book.

From the blog Dissecting leftism, I’m often confronted with an ever evolving definition of liberalism, one that I don’t recognize at all. So much of the conservative movements view of Democrats is so fantastic, who wouldn’t hate the alternate universes version of liberalism. Conversely, liberals are forced to endlessly prove their theories that define conservative:

Are conservatism and racism indistinguishable? That question will no doubt amuse most readers here but that they are indistinguishable is the burden of a recent Leftist book -- called Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same (Part of the SUNY Series in African American Studies). From the blurb:

In this provocative, wide-ranging study, Robert C. Smith contends that ideological conservatism and racism are and always have been equivalent in the United States. In this carefully constructed and thoroughly documented philosophical, historical, and empirical inquiry, Smith analyzes conservative ideas from John Locke to William F. Buckley Jr., as well as the parallels between the rise and decline of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1970s and the ascendancy of the conservative movement to national power in 1980. Using archival material from the Reagan library, the book includes detailed analysis of the Reagan presidency and race, focusing on affirmative action, the Voting Rights act, the Grove City case, welfare reform, South Africa policy, and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They are the Same goes beyond a focus on the right wing, concluding with an analysis of the enduring impact of the conservative movement and the Reagan presidency on liberalism, race, and the Democratic Party.

It seems to be mainly a belated bit of Reagan hatred and consists of the author's own angry interpretation of various historical events. One wonders what he makes of the fact that Hitler was a socialist, that it was Democrat politicians (George Wallace, Orval Faubus etc.) who were the chief opponents of racial integration in the South, that the KKK was almost entirely composed of Democrats...

Obviously Mr. Dissecter's got a few misplaced facts, lies if you will, in his arsonal. Here's one of my own that dissects the Hitler reference...

As Hitler himself wrote:
"The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity..."

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How to Marry into Business and Success, by Ron Johnson.

I tried like hell to edit the following Ron Johnson story, but those nit picky Republican inconsistencies are hard to get across without some background information, so here's a slightly abbreviated Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece by one of my favorite journalist Dan Bice:

It's one thing to flip-flop on the issues.

But who's ever heard of a candidate rewriting his own company history? That's exactly what U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson did last week.

For nearly nine years, his plastics company has carried this online description of its beginning:
"Founded in 1977, Pacur occupies … and end users," said the website for the Oshkosh-based factory.

But that changed on Wednesday. Johnson's firm tinkered with its website to move up Pacur's first day of operation by a couple of years.

"Founded in 1979* … end users," the site says now. The footnote points out that Pacur's predecessor, Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies, came into existence in '77 before being renamed and restructured two years later. Why the change?

A Madison TV story said … that Johnson's plastics factory paid for construction of a railroad line years ago with the help of a federal grant - even though the candidate is a sharp critic of government help for private firms. Johnson's campaign responded by saying HUD made the grant in March 1979, months before Pacur was even founded. "Ron Johnson moved to Wisconsin in June of 1979 and started Pacur, which has become a true Wisconsin success story," Johnson's campaign countered.

The only problem with Johnson's timeline, however, was Pacur's own website, which put its founding in 1977. Wisconsin Industrial Shipping was owned by Johnson's brother-in-law, Pat Curler.

But by Wednesday - voila! - Johnson's company website had been brought in line with statements by Johnson's campaign. A company employee said Monday that he was guessing that the change was something ordered up by the Johnson campaign.

Sara Sendek, Johnson's press secretary (said) "It is Pacur's website, and it would have been changed by Pacur."

OK, but why would the company decide - out of the blue - to update and change the company history for the first time in some nine years?

Another company official blames it on the press. Barry Johnson of Pacur and brother of Ron Johnson said members of the media have been hounding the company with questions about its origins.

According to the new and improved information, Pacur's predecessor was founded in 1977.
But state records say it was actually incorporated on July 21, 1978. Its name was officially changed to Pacur one year later.

Perhaps the company history is in for yet another revision.

There's still more on this dust up, from Uppity Wisconsin:
In yet another ridiculous claim, Ron Johnson said yesterday that a bond loan his company got where the lender got over a million in interest income at a basement-bargain tax rate of zero "didn't cost taxpayers a penny."

This is simply not true.

Scott Walker: Screw Tourism, Let's Pollute!!!

Republican governor candidate Scott Walker wants to ease environmental regulations for business at the expense of tourism and our natural resources. Instead of wasting money developing a green manufacturing base in Wisconsin to provide clean home grown energy and exporting any surpluses, Walker wants to spend that money out of state and create jobs out of thin air. But he’s not alone.

While Republicans try like hell to compete with countries that offer fewer environmental controls to entice business relocation and new jobs, some of those countries are seeing the folly of their ways and becoming “green.”

China’s change of attitude not only recognizes the emerging green manufacturing market, but sees a benefit to society, the environment and increases job growth. For Republicans like Walker, they have yet to realize what China now sees as a real threat; economic growth over environmental protection.

USA Today: China's people and government are struggling to deal with a series of natural disasters that some environmentalists believe are the deadly, man-made consequences of favoring economic growth over environmental protection.

(According to) botanist Jiang Gaoming, profits and gross domestic product goals drive local governments and businesses, and "protecting the ecological environment cannot bring them visible profits in the short term. Some local governments will consider environmental problems seriously only if the central government intervenes."

China ordered the closing of 2,087 steel and cement mills and other factories with low energy efficiency, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. In recent years, China has discussed concepts such as "Green GDP."

Can you imagine Republicans ordering the closing of any business because it “pollutes?” I thought this quote hit the mark:
“Conserving the natural environment is an investment in your own national assets."

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GOP Gov. Candidate Walker promotes Government Health Care to Bring Teacher Insurance Rates Down!!

What do you know, the governments buying power and size can lower the cost of health care? That's the conclusion of Republican Governor candidate Scott Walker. I'm not sure the tea party's going to like this...

GOP gubernatorial candidate, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, has said he wants to make it easier for school districts to choose potentially cheaper insurers by letting them opt into the state health plan over the objections of teachers unions. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, is also interested in having schools eventually insured through the state plan.
It makes all the sense in the world for Democrat Barrett to promote such a plan, it fits in with the consistant message that a public plan can help lower health care insurance rates, but how does Walker expect to get away with it? Are the strangely silent (as usual) tea party activists listening?

The Idiot Election, or "How the Republicans Plan to Take Power," starring Scott Walker and Mark Neumann.

You don’t have to be smart if you’re a Republican candidate running in the midterm elections. If you include “tax cuts” somewhere in a sentence, you will probably find a conservative who will vote for you. For example:

jsonline: Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann said he would return $810 million to the federal government if it can't be shifted from high-speed rail to tax cuts. "If the choice is to lose the money or build the train, we're not going to build the train," Neumann said.
That of course would make taxpayers pay back whatever is spent in the meantime, estimated to be up to $300 million. Smart budgeting?

Walker says he would ask Congress to let the state use the money for highways.
Walker is counting on what could only be thought of as a long shot to entice voters to put him in the governor’s seat. But that "feel good" long shot is something he’s opposed in the past:

Walker was able to cite a case in which Wisconsin was able to shift some money originally earmarked for public transit into road projects, although he didn't mention that he opposed the deal at the time because it still reserved some money for transit.
One note Neumann, Walker’s primary opponent,

…says he would ask Congress to let the state cut taxes with the money.
Hey it’s an election year where voter discontent is running so high that Republican candidates don’t need to be smart or tell the truth. If they win seats and still fail miserably to create jobs, even after enacting tax cuts, they can always blame the remaining Democratic policies for their problems.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Republicans worse than Obama on Creating jobs and reducing deficit. Surprised?

Running on nothing!!! Is this the precursor to a do nothing Republican congress and state legislature? Remember when dismantling all the Clinton era policies was Bush's idea of progress, and that resulted in blowing away surpluses as far as the eye could see? So what would happen under policies already a part of the GOP agenda?

Newsweek notes that nothing is apparently more important to Republican politicians these days than jobs and the budget deficit, but there’s a problem with their message: “So far, the things that Republicans have said they want to do won’t actually boost employment or reduce deficits. In fact, much the opposite. By combing through a variety of studies and projections from nonpartisan economic sources, we here at Gaggle headquarters have found that if Republicans were in charge from January 2009 onward — and if they were now given carte blanche to enact the proposals they want to — the projected 2010-2020 deficits would be larger than they are under Obama, and fewer people would probably be employed.”

If you're curious, check out this summary look at how they came to what seemed like an obvious conclusion.

The math is pretty straightforward. Let's start with the deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obama's stimulus plan is projected to increase budget deficits over the next decade by $814 billion. But Republicans opposed the legislation The Obama deficit: $814 billion. The GOP
deficit: $0.

Next up is health-care reform. Obama passed it; Republicans want to repeal it "lock, stock, and barrel." Just this Tuesday the CBO released a letter saying that Obama's health-care-reform legislation would "reduce the projected budget deficit by $30 billion over the next 10 years,” while repealing the law would generate "an increase in deficits ... of $455 billion ... over that [same] period." Factor those figures into the equation and the Obama deficit falls to $784 billion. The GOP deficit, meanwhile, rises to $455

The Bush tax cuts. Obama wants to extend them for the 95 percent of taxpayers Republicans want to extend them for everybody. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, "the Democratic proposal would add about $3 trillion to the deficit during the next decade, while the GOP plan would cost $3.7 trillion." That brings the total Obama deficit to $3.784 trillion over 10 years, and its GOP counterpart to—drumroll, please—$4.155 trillion.

On jobs Republicans have only said they'd … scrap the stimulus, and extend the Bush tax cuts … so as not to (in Boehner's words) "impose job-killing tax hikes on families and small businesses." In a report out this week, the CBO estimates that between 1.4 million and 3.3 million fewer people would be employed right now if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had never made it through Congress. Split the difference, and the pro-stimulus Obama moves ahead of the anti-stimulus GOP by about 2.35 million jobs.

The Brookings Institution has noted, that "of 11 potential stimulus policies the CBO recently examined, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts ties for lowest bang for the buck." In fact, "letting the high-income tax cuts expire and using the money for aid to the states, extensions of unemployment insurance benefits, [or] tax credits favoring job creation ... would have about three times the impact ... as continuing the Bush tax cuts."

If keeping the top marginal tax rate at 35 percent—the rate under Bush, and the rate that Republicans are fighting to preserve—spurs so much hiring, why didn't America experience any job growth at all during Bush's time in office? And if a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent—the rate under Bill Clinton, and the rate that Democrats are fighting to restore—is such a job killer, why did payrolls grow by 20 percent during the 1990s?

The bottom line, then, is that recent GOP proposals would produce fewer jobs and far larger deficits than the plans Obama has already passed or currently wants to pass.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Japanese Racists, Nationalists Adopt American Tea Party Tactics. Sign: "This is Not a White Country."

In Japan a movement of "Net far right" ultranationalists has taken a direct cue from the tea party movement. There is a conservative commonality of fears, racism and liberal hatred that is undeniable. Check out the following stunning turn of events in Japan over the last year:

NY Times: The group of about a dozen Japanese men gathered in front of the school gate, using bullhorns to call the students cockroaches and Korean spies … the protests also signaled the emergence here of a new type of ultranationalist group … The groups are openly anti-foreign … Since first appearing last year (me: tea party’s too), their protests have been directed … Koreans, Chinese and other Asian workers, Christian churchgoers and even Westerners in Halloween costumes … a few dozen shouting demonstrators waving placards that said, “This is not a white country.”

Local news media have dubbed these groups the Net far right … young men, many of whom hold the low-paying part-time or contract jobs that have proliferated in Japan in recent years … the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties.

They are also different from Japan’s existing ultranationalist groups, which are a common sight even today in Tokyo, wearing paramilitary uniforms and riding around in ominous black trucks with loudspeakers that blare martial music … which has roots going back to at least the 1930s rise of militarism in Japan.

Sociologists describe them as serving as a sort of unofficial mechanism for enforcing conformity in postwar Japan, singling out Japanese who were seen as straying too far to the left … the largest group appears to be the cumbersomely named Citizens Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges for Koreans in Japan, known here by its Japanese abbreviation, the Zaitokukai … gained notoriety when it staged noisy protests at the home and junior high school of a 14-year-old Philippine girl, demanding her deportation after her parents were sent home for overstaying their visas. More recently, the Zaitokukai picketed theaters showing “The Cove,” an American documentary about dolphin hunting here that rightists branded as anti-Japanese.

Many seemed to embrace conspiracy theories taken from the Internet that China or the United States were plotting to undermine Japan … it is still largely run by its founder and president who goes by the assumed name of Makoto Sakurai … he said he had modeled his group after another overseas political movement, the Tea Party in the United States. He said he had studied videos of Tea Party protests, and shared with the Tea Party an angry sense that his nation had gone in the wrong direction because it had fallen into the hands of leftist politicians, liberal media as well as foreigners. “They have made Japan powerless to stand up to China and Korea,”

Sound familiar? And it’s all coming from the paranoid, fear consumed conservative right wing. With the same characteristics; Conspiracy theories, demanding deportation of foreigners, a mechanism for enforcing conformity, singling out those who stray to far left, frustration in their personal economic difficulties, ultranationalist and racist “this is not a white country” signs, maybe we should reexamine how seriously we take the bizarre behavior of the movement or at least try to get them treatment.
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The American Spirit: "Why can't they leave us alone?" Ron Johnson is Tea Party Crazy!!

Conservatives have a very short term approach to problems. They never seem to understand that smart government can make everyone free and business thrive. Instead, ideologically vacuous theories predominate in a world that has already proved their voodoo economics wrong.

jsonline: On the campaign trail, Johnson is far more apocalyptic about the state of the union, the health-care bill, spending and the national debt. Johnson said he sees a society that is lurching toward a culture of entitlement dependency.

"People are saying, 'That's my right, give it to me.' That's not the America I recognize. I think we're losing America. That's what's at stake in this election."

The truth is dramatically different from the version Ron Johnson is peddling.

Entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are actual “dependencies” we’ve paid into. They’re accounts we started and draw money from, because…it’s our money. Can we help it if health care costs are going through the roof? They’re becoming unaffordable all over the world. Why are costs increasing faster than most products and services? Isn’t that the issue?

Oh, but competition is the answer, right? We’re to assume health care will lower its prices in a more competitive market without affecting quality? That’s what we’re being sold by Ron Johnson.
"The problem is (liberals) are not leaving us alone," he told supporters. "They haven't left us alone. They are threatening our freedom."
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have two systems; one that continues and improves the social safety nets for Democrats, and another where “freedom” loving people can be left alone to fess for themselves? Survival of the smartest, the socially fit, will decide who’s ideology works best.

But the big lie comes in the form of health savings accounts.

Reforms, such as health savings accounts, were a step in the right direction until Congress passed the health-care bill.
Premiums for such accounts go up about $1300 a year, despite having a large deductible, so after 5 years everyone is paying well over $1,000 a month for family coverage. In another 7 years, you’ll be paying $2,000 a month. The problem starts all over again.

Republicans like Ron Johnson have short term solutions that pass off the day of reckoning to the next generation.

What a plan. Can you imagine paying $180,000 a year to an elected politician who won’t lift a hand to help their fellow Americans, because they believe in “small government?” Talk about lazy no-count elits freeloading off taxpayer money.

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The Glenn Beck Televangelist Road show and the Cafeteria Christian Elite.

The American embarrassment we know as Glenn Beck attracted 350.000 of the religious “gullible’s,” to take our country back to a time that never existed, when we were considered a Christian nation. The elitist view of these “real American’s,” is that they hold the key to our national salvation through God. It is one hell of a scary message to send out to the rest of the world.

Washington Post: …intended to reclaim the mantle of the civil rights movement from politics for "people of faith."
Choosing what part of MLK’s movement to ignore, Beck plucked out as wrong King's most important message, an "economic bill of rights." Fox News’ Chris Wallace pointed that out. (video to come).
Beck said he didn't agree with King's calls for economic justice. "The real
agenda should be equal justice, an equal shot," Beck said.
And after reaping the benefits of stoking racism and white anger with his accusation that Obama was a racist, Beck conveniently backed off the claim, replacing it with a projection of conservative victimhood.
"The conservative commentator said he regretted his infamous comments that President Obama is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people." He said he was "miscasting as racism" the president's "liberation theology" ideology, which he said relies on the lens of "oppressor and victim" to understand the world.
But isn’t Beck and the tea party calling the liberal Democratic “socialist” agenda “oppressive,” a system of social justice that will destroy the country, taking every conservative victim of Obama down with it? It’s conservative projection.
Beck said Obama made the case in a speech to students that "your salvation is directly tied to collective salvation," which Beck said was "a direct opposite of what the gospel talks about ... Jesus came for personal salvation." Beck said "people aren't recognizing [Obama's] version of Christianity."
That is so opposite the message that I got from the New Testament, that someone should take away Beck’s God card, and I’m not a “go to church” kind of guy.

It appears many religious conservatives, waving the flag for God and country, are actually teaching a radicalized form of Christianity. I don’t recall any passages that show Jesus berating the hungry and poor for not trying hard enough to find a job or to make more money. I do recall him getting down on the wealthy’s expectation of getting a “free pass out of hell card,” where he said something about a camel passing through the eye of a needle…?

NY Times: An enormous and impassioned crowd rallied at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial … summoned by Glenn Beck, a conservative broadcaster who called for a religious rebirth in America at the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech 47 years ago to the day. Beck said “America today begins to turn back to God.” …the rally was overtly religious, filled with gospel music and speeches that were more like sermons … Beck said “This country has spent far too long worrying about scars and thinking about scars and concentrating on scars. Today, we are going to concentrate on the good things in America … Beck was followed on stage by Sarah Palin, “Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet, and you can’t take that away from me,”
Render under Caesar what is Caesar’s…
Becky Benson, 56, traveled from Orlando, Fla., because, she said, “we believe in Jesus Christ, and he is our savior.” Jesus, she said, would not have agreed with what she called the redistribution of wealth in the form of the economic stimulus package, bank bailouts and welfare. “You cannot sit and expect someone to hand out to you,” she said.
Ignoring a time in American history when there were no safety nets, and the elderly were swept into poverty:
People in the crowd echoed his ideas, saying that “progressives” were moving the country toward socialism and that the country must get back to a strict interpretation of the Constitution, which would limit the role of the federal government and do away with entitlement programs.
More revealing is Beck’s fearful rant that we no longer have principles and values after a year and a half of Obama:

“My role, as I see it, is to wake America up to the backsliding of principles and values and most of all of God,” he said. “We are a country of God. As I look at the problems in our country, quite honestly, I think the hot breath of destruction is breathing on our necks and to fix it politically is a figure that I don’t see anywhere.”

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lieutenant Gov. Candidate Davis Rails against Law he Helped Pass.

Looks like someone isn’t reading the bills they’re voting on in our state legislature…Brett Davis!!

Here’s a whiny press release conveying Davis’ phony outrage over something HE VOTED ON:

Lieutenant Governor candidate and State Representative Brett Davis has learned that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections is now using state dollars to pay for driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards for prison inmates. Davis learned the policy change went into effect on July 1 of this year. Previously, inmates were charged for the licenses and ID Cards.

“As families across Wisconsin struggle to make ends meet, it makes no sense for the taxpayers to pick up the tab for driver’s licenses for inmates,” said Davis. “Governor Doyle should immediately end this ill-advised program. We shouldn’t be giving special privileges to prisoners. Rather than giving an inmate a $43 break, why not help out a law abiding taxpayer, or use the money to balance the budget,” asked Davis.

“These absurd spending programs continue to show Governor Doyle to be hopelessly tone deaf to the will of the people of Wisconsin.”

Davis also expressed concerns about the immigration implications of issuing State ID cards to prisoners.

But didn’t Davis know HE VOTED for the state spending? From another press release, this time from Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Henry Sanders:

Henry Sanders, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, today questioned why State Rep. Brett Davis has publicly condemned a proposal he, himself, voted for … in the 2007-2008 State Budget. “Either Brett Davis is lying to voters to score cheap political points, or he was just asleep at the switch and didn’t read the bill he voted for,” said Sanders. “I’m not sure which is worse, but Wisconsin certainly deserves better from its elected officials.”

The identification card proposal was introduced through the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance by Republican Rep. Scott Suder and Democrat Mark Pocan as part of the 2007-2008 Department of Corrections budget. The measure passed with a unanimous 16-0 bi-partisan vote, and was forwarded to the full legislature. Davis was one of 23 Republican representatives voting in favor of the bill. “This is just another example of the revisionist history,” said Sanders. “Before Brett Davis sends out charges of government waste he may want to check his own voting record first.”

Oh boy.
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Media Matters calls out GOP for Nazi References

Chris Matthews talks to E.J. Dionne and Media Matters Eric Boehlert about the "over the cliff" move of the GOBP to the extreme right. Boehlert talks about how during the Bush years when Democrats brought up Hitler or Nazi Germany the Republicans were so incensed by the suggestion that they broke out the smelling salts.

Dionne: No one ever made accusations, untrue accusations, as bizarre as the
ones being made against Barack Obama.

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Rep. Paul Ryan, and the Road Map to…

There are many ways to look at the Ryan road to destruction, so here are just a few:

Huffington Post: How Democrats should be playing defense … should … force a vote on the Republican budget plan that has rightwing pundits all excited … bring the "Ryan budget" to a vote. If Republicans vote for the Ryan Budget, they will be voting to do what Republican paymasters like the Koch brothers have always wanted, but the electorate has never been sucked into supporting -- privatize Social Security, scale down Medicare until it is worthless. Remember Newt Gingrich's reverie, "Social Security and Medicare will be left to wither on the vine"?

Washington Times: The official legislative version of Mr. Ryan's plan stretches to 629 pages and touches on all areas: It would turn Medicare and Medicaid into vouchers to pay for private insurance, with spending increases tightly controlled; it would peg Social Security increases to slower-rising prices rather than wages, and would allow personal investment accounts as part of the program; and it would overhaul the tax code, removing most deductions and special carve-outs for individuals, and replacing the corporate income tax with a consumption tax.

Forbes: Paul Van de Water of the nonpartisan Center on Budget & Policy Priorities points out that, by one analysis, the plan will slash by 50% the income tax liability of the richest 1% in 2014 while 75% of all Americans will see their tax burdens rise, partly due to the consumption tax being passed on to consumers. Ryan counters that his tax system is progressive, even though it lowers tax rates on the rich, because it cuts out itemized deductions and loopholes frequently enjoyed by wealthy earners. Moreover, the idea behind lowering taxes isn't to redistribute income, he says; it's to encourage investment in the U.S.

Ryan admits his plan for Social Security could lead to lower benefits for people now under 55. "We don't have a choice," he says. These younger workers would … (have an) investment account managed by Uncle Sam but subject to market fluctuations. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the Ryan roadmap would decrease revenue by $4 trillion over the next ten years.

Washington Post: One of the big Republican ideas for reforming Medicare is to turn it into a program of vouchers … Paul Ryan's plan, for instance. But that's not how these reforms save money. They save money by limiting the generosity of the vouchers. Because the dirty little secret is that turning Medicare into a voucher program would actually make it cost much, much more. How do we know? According to the nonpartisan … the private Medicare Advantage plans are a (voluntary) voucher system … a fixed monthly payment from Medicare … With it, beneficiaries can select from any Advantage plan operating in their county … the market-based arm of the program costs more, not less, per beneficiary … on average, 13 percent above fee-for-service Medicare costs.

ajc: Writing in the Washington Examiner, libertarian Gene Healy argues that the dust-up is a distraction: “The ‘mosque’ controversy isn’t about property rights or religious freedom. It’s a bogus issue seized by the GOP establishment to distract the rank-and-file from the party’s reluctance to shrink government. . .

You see, cutting government is hard, and often unpopular. No surprise … Boehner would rather play urban planner than embrace Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s “road map” for shrinking middle-class entitlements. Feed the rubes conservative identity politics, and, with luck, they’ll be too distracted to notice you’ve grafted a Republican “K Street Project” atop the same old edifice of Big Government.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Vote Tampering in Tennessee defeats 7 out of 8 Black Dems in Black Districts with GOP Whites.

While Republicans whine endlessly about the non issue of voter fraud, they are working feverishly behind the scenes committing election fraud (vote tampering), an issue not on the public radar...yet.

The following is a really stunning revelation, and surprisingly, not covered by the main stream news networks. I'm not exaggerating.

BradBlog: Bev Harris of the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org. … following reports of massive voter disenfranchisement during the state's August 5th elections … "Wildest election tampering yet in Memphis," Harris' detailed text message read. "7 out of eight candidates black in black locations with 70 percent Dem's but white republican sweep."

"Ten candidates filed lawsuit today," the message continued, as she explained that over the past two weeks she and Pynchon "watched as [election officials] wheeled cartloads of computers out of the building. Thousands and thousands of votes don't add up...poll tapes in trash and much more."

First described by the Memphis Flyer as "a glitch in electronic voting," reports emerged of thousands of voters being told, incorrectly, that they'd already voted. Tempers were flaring as the breadth of the failures --- soon discovered not to be confined only to voter registration records --- began to reveal themselves as seen in the above rather extraordinary August 12th report from Memphis' CBS affiliate WREG News Channel 3.

The statement goes on to charge that the election was "an embarrassment to our county and a violation of every principle on which our country was founded," and lists some remarkable allegations.

• "Votes Without Voters: ... according to SCEC's own records, 6,802 more votes were cast than individuals who participated in the August 2010 election."
• "Missing Vote Batches: Unexplained errors in vote count are reflected by the voting machines. ... twenty batches of vote uploads are no longer in the system at all ... with no record of them at this time. The missing batches potentially contain between 6,000 and 18,000 votes."

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Good-bye Harley-Davidson, and good riddance.

I don't want to see anyone unemployed, ever, but I am so tired of seeing this story...
Jsonline: Harley-Davidson Inc. may move its Milwaukee manufacturing to a plant Photo of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Photo t...Image via Wikipediain Kansas City, Mo., if the company cannot reach an agreement with its labor unions here, a company spokesman confirmed Friday. Harley-Davidson has said its goal is to cut millions of dollars in costs from its Wisconsin operations that employ about 2,000 people.

Then, motorcycle assembly would be moved from Kansas City to a Harley-Davidson plant in York, Pa.

It was insulting enough for the state GOP to have their convention at the Harley Museum, but now conservative crazy Harley-Davidson wants to take their long history in Wisconsin and throw it under the wheels.

If Harley moves, I'm hoping buyers will say good-bye to these anti-blue collar, low wage, race to the bottom conservatives.
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Scott Walker Wrong about BadgerCare, Lied because the Truth would have been too long an Answer!!!

The recent debate between Republican candidates for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and Mark Neumann must have been an unscrutinized cake walk when you consider how much misinformation hit the fan for the benefit of conservative voters.
Didn’t anyone dare question the following “easy ones” lobbed by these carnival barkers?

Jsonline: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker inaccurately described the state's health care program for the poor this week - saying it was originally a temporary program when in fact it never was. Walker … in a debate Wednesday also said the program, called BadgerCare Plus, faces "all kinds of fraud and abuse," but rampant fraud has not been identified.

On Thursday, Walker said he did not want to put time limits on BadgerCare Plus, as he appeared to indicate in the debate a day earlier.

The reason Walker lied during the recent debate:

Walker said he improperly described BadgerCare Plus because candidates have to give short answers in debates.
For brevity, Walker only had time to lie, because the truth takes too long?

The Details:
Walker said he believed allowing people to receive benefits longer had the effect of keeping people on BadgerCare Plus longer, and that was the point he was trying to make in the debate. "It was supposed to be a temporary step up as they moved into permanent employment," Walker said of BadgerCare Plus in the debate.
But that wasn’t true either, because many employees don’t have any health care benefits at their place of work.
Almost 400,000 of (BadgerCare recipients) are working or are the spouse or child of someone who is working, according to state figures.
Of course how can you go wrong accusing government of “fraud and abuse?” Very…

"Instead, under this governor, we've had the time limits go away and we see a permanent entitlement created, and that's brought about all kinds of fraud and abuse and problems not only there but in the child care component as well. That will stop when I'm governor." Walker did not provide a source for claiming there was "all kinds of fraud and abuse" in BadgerCare Plus.

In 2008, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau analyzed 9.4 million Medicaid payments from fiscal year 2006 and found fewer than 100 that were questionable.

Funny thing is, despite Walker’s incredible lack of familiarity of BadgerCare, he actually voted for it…

Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson created BadgerCare in 1997 as he overhauled welfare. It was meant to ensure low-income workers and their families would have health care. As a member of the Assembly at the time, Walker voted for it.

BadgerCare Plus and its precursor never included time limits.

Joe Leann, a Republican who served as Thompson's health and family services secretary at the time said, "There was no time limit envisioned, BadgerCare was intended to be there for however long (low-income) people were working jobs that didn't provide health care. . . . We need low-income families to stay healthy and productive."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the major Democrat in the race, said in a statement, "For someone who voted for BadgerCare, Walker knows full well his campaign claims are just plain false."

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

GOP candidate Rick Scott for Florida Governor. You deserve him.

The Republican Party just nomimated for Florida governor Rick Scott, a guy who paid for and organized health care reform opposition tea party protests at town halls, because it threatened his private walk in health clinics for people who don't have insurance. Not only that, Scott incurred the largest Medicare fraud fine ever of $1.7 billion, when he headed up the Columbia/HCA hospital chain.

Now that's the kind of guy you want to take the reins over state government.

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Pataki looks reality in the eye and denies Republicans fear Islam.

Former Gov. George Pataki continues to deny poll numbers that show Republicans dislike Islam. After Rush Limbaugh asserts that Americans don't fear Islam because we elected Barack Hussein Obama, inferring Obama isn't Christian, Pataki points out that Rush clearly believes Obama is Christian. Huh? Acting dumb is not a defense. Pataki then fakes outrage by accusing Eugene Robinson of trying to deny the right of opponents to express their opinions. Complete BS.

Here are just a few examples of 9/11 outrage?

In Florida, one group seeks to burn Qur’ans on September 11, 2010. We have seen from coast-to-coast, from California to Florida, a series of protests against those who seek to freely worship in Islamic mosques, in California, in Tennessee, in Wisconsin, in North Carolina, in Kentucky, in Florida, in Connecticut, and throughout New York. In Florida, we have seen a pipe bomb attack on a mosque, in Texas a children’s playground in a mosque was burned down, while children are harassed, in Tennessee mosque properties have been vandalized and people have been convicted of arson attacks on mosques. On our national airwaves and media, we see and hear those who call for bomb attacks on mosques, and those who seek to spread open intolerance and hatred.

Gov. Hopeful Lazio Steps up Fear mongering to take office. Jobs Jobs Jobs?

Hardball's Chris Matthews takes Rick Lazio to task for misleading statements about comments made by Imam Feisl Abdul Rauf. The tunnel vision demonstrated by Lazio isn't anything new, it keeps conservatives on message, and is rarely exposed by our irresponsible news media. If this phony fear mongering were called out more often we wouldn't be having this debate.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Conservatives Morph Constitution into mere Symbol: Our Rights don't render it a Right to do so!!!

In the past I’ve warned that conservatives, the “tea party movement” especially, are trying to take ownership of the U.S. Constitution. The language on the right continues to reinforce the delusional message they know what the founding fathers meant, and that they own that interpretation. Repeated over and over again, these simple fictions become the socially excepted versions.

Which brings me to the newer conversation created by conservatives; Our constitutional rights and the founding document are symbolic, not actual laws. You say you’re a strict constructionist? Even constructionists are now pushing the symbolism angle, insisting the constitution doesn’t preclude the power of social mores. Are you listening Justice Thomas. Check out this “conflicted” constitutional constructionist justifying his paranoia, fear and bigotry.

J Karl Miller: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… " reads the First Amendment to the Constitution. Are those provisions inviolate and set in stone, or may they be abridged judiciously in those rare instances where good judgment and restraint must trump literal interpretation? "Is it not time for judicial restraint to enable judgment and common sense to prevail?"

While an inalienable right to perform an act may exist, the propriety may be open to question—is it appropriate to do so? …condemning as bigots or racists those opposed to the mosque is no different than denouncing its proponents as endorsing terrorism. The solution will require the wisdom of a Solomon and a dollop of adult cooperation—in the end, possessing the right to do something does not render it right to do so.

Under what I would categorize as the “big BUT theory,” along with channeling the spirits of the founding fathers, Miller steps out onto the ledge, and jumps:
Finally, I am not a believer in a "living Constitution"; instead, I am a strict constructionist. Nevertheless, the framers did not intend the Constitution as a vehicle for ignoring judgment, common sense, personal conduct and an accepted standard of mores to negotiate a path for its destruction.
Assuming of course that it is an actual “path” to our destruction.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

GOP Governor Candidate Walker Didn’t know aides computer Seized in Investigation for Possible Election or Campaign Fraud.

For a guy who wants to control the intricate dealings of state government, he sure looked clueless when asked about illegalities in his own campaign.

Asked if he was surprised by the timing of the probe, Walker said: "I can't be surprised by something I don't know about." A longtime aide to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker had his work computer seized by authorities last week, sources familiar with the situation said Monday. Those sources said the computer was removed Friday while Tim Russell - the county housing administrator and a former Walker campaign aide - was away from his office. Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf … refused to respond ... "I have absolutely no comment," said Landgraf, who typically handles cases involving election and campaign fraud.

Russell, 47, used to run former Gov. Tommy Thompson's Milwaukee office and has been with Walker since he ran for county executive in 2002.

Walker tried to act doe-eyed about a possible illegal act by an aide who had his computer seized.

Whatever it might be, Walker said he can't be considered out of touch for not knowing that one of his aides had his computer seized as part of a criminal probe.

"I've been busy on other things," he explained.

And as governor, Walker doesn’t expect to be that “busy?”

Republican State Minority Leader Fitzgerald on Killing High Speed Rail: "A little Cloudy."

What if your political platform only dealt with repealing the opposition parties platform, and ran on that as a job creator? As preposterous as that sounds, the Wisconsin GOP is selling it, gaining support from a desperate angry electorate willing to grab at any straw that offers relief. Take high speed rail for example.

Upfront with Mike Gousha asked the simple question, how will a Republican governor stop the federal high speed rail project already implemented in Wisconsin?

State Sen. Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald couldn't answer Gousha's simple question. According to Fitzgerald, the promise of stopping the federal "boondoggle" is "a little cloudy." What a plan!!!! Fitzgerald made it clear, in a rambling disconnected way, just how fiscally incompetent and vengeful his party will be if it manages to gain control of the governorship and part of the legislature.
Fitzgerald: "Even if it means some of these federal dollars ultimately being...WASTED ... it's still may be the most measured approach...to say listen, this is a huge...FEDERAL DRIVEN...PROJECT, that...huh...needs to stop...because quiet honestly we don't have the dollars in the transportation fund in Wisconsin to maintain this."
Fitzgerald is willing to WASTE up to $300 million because it might cost $13 to $16 million a year for train upkeep? Based on these numbers, Republicans are willing to toss out taxpayer dollars that would be equal to 23 years of high speed rail service, just to prove their point that the stimulus is "wasteful." Point made, I guess?

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Mosque protest ugly scene, watched around the world. Moral high ground vanishes.

I’ve tired of commenting on the mob mentality of the right wing, and their penchant for shredding the Constitution every time they feel offended or fearful. So instead I’ll let Bradblog and the YouTube video below do the talking.

As the disinformed and hypnotized crowd of angry protesters in downtown New York chant "No mosque here!" over the weekend, a black man in a white hat strolls through and the crowd instantly turns on him. "Ya'll don't even know my opinion on shit," he's forced to reply in his own defense as the tension rises and the possibility of violence becomes imminent. "I'm not even Muslim!" shouts the man who, it turns out, was apparently a construction worker at Ground Zero.

A commenter at Ballon Juice may have said it best (h/t Glenn Greenwald on Twitter): "They got one thing right: Ground Zero is being desecrated. Just not by Muslims."

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Zakaria on The German System Kicking U.S. Butt

Germany could teach a few things.

So, the American economy is stalling. Applications for unemployment insurance reached the half-million mark last week, the first time to cross this threshold since last November.
The housing sector is weakening. Private business is not hiring. And the consumer is not spending.

But meanwhile, there is a major global economy that's booming. No, it's not China or India or any other emerging market. It's Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, which grew at 2.2 percent last quarter. That was its best quarter in 20 years, and it blew the other major EU economies out of the water.

Germany, you might say, isn't that part of old Europe that Americans always make fun of, high taxes, big welfare state, strong unions, lots of regulation? None of that sounds conducive to economic growth. But Germany is powering ahead, bouncing back from the financial crisis and the economic recession. So how did they do it?

First, the German consumer was prudent and didn't spend more money than he had. While much of the rest of the first world was on a spending spree in the last decade, especially the United States and Britain, Germans held back. They never maxed out on their credit cards. They never took out home equity loans.

One reason that American consumers aren't spending right now is that they are still working off mountains of debt. The average American has a debt load that is 122 percent of his annual income. The German average is a more manageable 100 percent.

Second, Germany has a strong manufacturing sector that exports products around the world. The United States and many other rich countries have essentially outsourced their manufacturing over the last three or four decades. It's cheaper to have things made in China or India.

But Germany managed to keep a lot of its manufacturing right there in Germany. It maintained technical institutes, apprenticeship programs, and in many other ways has encouraged and built and sustained manufacturing. So when it sells a Porsche or a BMW, that money comes right back into Germany. Germans are also attentive to the risks of losing technical skills. So while U.S. businesses shed jobs the minute they see the demand for their products drying up, German businesses are more careful. They are more likely to keep their workers, perhaps on half time, or even quarter time, rather than fire them. They believe that this retains the workers' skills and his loyalty so that when the economy revives, the company has trained workers ready to ramp up.

Finally, reform. The Germans have reformed their pension system, they've raised the retirement age, they've trimmed workers' benefits, they've freed up their labor market, and of course they have an affordable national health care system, one that costs half as much as ours. So their workers are actually a lot less expensive to their businesses than American workers are to theirs with the huge pension and health care costs that come along with them.

The result of all this, while the U.S. this week announced another round of bad unemployment figures, German unemployment fell in July for the 13th straight month. Germany has now regained almost all of the jobs it lost during the recession.

Maybe we could learn something from what's going on across the Atlantic in another high-wage, high-tax, high-regulation economy.

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Strict Constitutional Constructionist offer 42 Amendments to Change Founding Document.

AP put together a great list of Republican lawmakers who don't seem to like our founding document so much they want to change it, a lot. Compare that to the liberal idea of a "living breathing" constitutional document where change is good.

(AP) - Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia won his seat in Congress campaigning as a strict defender of the Constitution. He carries a copy in his pocket and is particularly fond of invoking the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But it turns out there are parts of the document he doesn't care for - lots of them. He wants to get rid of the language about birthright citizenship, federal income taxes and direct election of senators, among others. He would add plenty of stuff, including explicitly authorizing castration as punishment for child rapists.

This hot-and-cold take on the Constitution is surprisingly common within the GOP, particularly among those like Broun who portray themselves as strict Constitutionalists and who frequently accuse Democrats of twisting the document to serve political aims. Republicans have proposed at least 42 Constitutional amendments in the current Congress.

The Republican proposals … tend to be social and political statements: prohibit government ownership of private companies, bar same-sex marriage, require a two-thirds vote in Congress to raise taxes, and - an old favorite - prohibit desecration of the American flag.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra introduced an amendment that would allow voters to directly repeal laws passed by Congress - a move that would radically alter the Founding Fathers' system of checks and balances.

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants to restrict the president's ability to sign international treaties because she fears the Obama administration might replace the dollar with some sort of global currency.

Broun said he sees no contradiction in his devotion to the Constitution and his desire to rewrite parts of it. He said the Founding Fathers never imagined the size and scope of today's federal government and that he's simply resurrecting their vision by trying to amend it. "We need to do a lot of tweaking to make the Constitution as it was originally intended, instead of some perverse idea of what the Constitution says and does."

The problem says constitutional law scholar Mark Kende, is that divining what the framers intended involves subjective judgments infused with politics.

Virginia Sloan, an attorney who directs the nonpartisan Constitution Project, agreed. "There are a lot of people who obviously don't like income taxes. That's a political position," she said of criticism of the 16th Amendment, which authorized the modern federal income tax more than a century ago. "But it's in the Constitution ... and I don't think you can go around saying something is unconstitutional just because you don't like it."

Democrats and their crazy idea that the Constitution is an evolving document have proposed 27 amendments … “deal with less ideological issues such as congressional succession in a national disaster or voting rights in U.S. territories.”

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Feingold GOP opponant Johnson claims Greenland "was actually green at one point...whole lot whiter now."

Feingold's Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson is proving over and over that "ruling" in congress is far more important than making informed decisions based on "knowledge."

In a 27 News interview at his Oshkosh plastics factory, Johnson said the rise in Earth's temperature was more likely caused by solar activity than man-made carbon dioxide emissions, and that shifting climate patterns were part of an ongoing natural cycle.

"There's a reason Greenland was called Greenland," he said. "It was actually green at one point in time. And it's been, since, it's a whole lot whiter now."

According to straightdope.com:

Erik the Red was forced to leave Norway because (he was) involved in killings (details are not given). He used the time to explore the rumored lands to the west.

He purposely chose the pleasant name Grænland ("green land") to attract settlers, but the choice wasn't exactly misleading. Some parts of Greenland, especially the parts the Norse settled, really are green.

Did anyone vet this guy? Johnson is still polling well against Sen. Russ Feingold. This is all even more amazing since he's made a number of major verbal gaffes, ignored or forgotten by the major media outlets throughout the state, where he continues to restate those same retracted gaffes again and again.

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