Archive for: September, 2011

Paul Ryan Has A New Plan To Scam Millions Of Americans Out Of Their Healthcare

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Americans are fortunate to live in a country where citizens have hardly ever been harmed by an invading army, but nearly every American has suffered at the hands of conservatives. Poor Americans have historically suffered from conservatives’ assaults on their economic well-being and since Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Republicans broadened their attacks to include senior citizens and the middle class. Earlier this year, the Heritage Foundation devised a Medicare privatization scam that Representative Paul Ryan presented as his own and if adopted, it would effectively either send elderly Americans into abject poverty as they would have to choose to survive without healthcare and eat, or starve and have private, inadequate health insurance.

The Heritage plan serves the purpose of handing insurance companies millions of new elderly policy holders who could ill-afford prohibitive premiums, and give Republicans access to the Medicare funds seniors contributed during their working lives. Suffice it to say that the privatization scam offered nothing to elderly Americans, but it gives the insurance industry a captive consumer base that would end up paying more in premiums while receiving less healthcare. Since Republicans are not satisfied cheating seniors and the poor, they have turned their attention to the middle class and figured out a way to reward corporations and the insurance industry while causing working Americans more economic distress.

Ryan’s newest scam involves eliminating tax breaks for employees who are enrolled in their employer’s group healthcare plans, and instead give a tax credit to buy health insurance on an individual basis.  According to Ryan, his plan will give consumers the needed incentive to demand more value from their healthcare. He said, “Giving patients and consumers control over health care resources would make all Americans less dependent on big business and big government for our health security; give us more control over the care we get; and force health care providers to compete for our business.” Ryan’s statement sounds suspiciously like his Medicare privatization scam, and if it reaches fruition, will result in 170 million Americans facing the same consequences as the elderly who will end up paying higher costs for less coverage.

If the plan is adopted, it could encourage employees to drop employer health plans and move to individual plans that are prohibitively expensive for less coverage. One of the benefits of group plans are that a larger pool of policy holders results in lower premiums and more coverage. Ryan claims insurance companies would be “forced” into providing better coverage for less money, but a report on Tuesday showed health insurance costs are climbing for companies and their employees, and family premiums are increasing at a pace triple that of last year. Mr. Ryan either does not understand how insurance works or he knows and does not care that individual policies are much higher-priced than group plans.

There is no reasonable explanation for why Ryan thinks that an individual plan is less costly than a group plan, or that individual consumers will be better equipped to force the insurance industry to give more value for policyholder’s dollars. If Americans know one thing about the insurance industry, it is that they are never going to be influenced by consumer complaints or demands for better value. In California late last year, Anthem Blue Cross attempted to raise individual health insurance premiums by 39% for no apparent reason, and Blue Shield planned to raise premiums by 59%. It took intervention by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop the outrageous increases, and still, premiums grew by nearly 20% in many areas. At the same time premiums rose in group and individual plans, deductibles and co-pays for services and prescriptions grew by as much as 50% despite objections from employee unions and individuals alike. Ryan claims under his plan, an individual policy holder can demand better value for their money, but he is wrong and he knows he is wrong. In the case of California, outrage from 800,000 individual policyholders had no effect on Anthem Blue Cross and 193,000 Blue Shield policyholders could not halt the proposed 59% increase. It took the full weight of the White House and HHS to stop nearly a million policy holders from facing rising insurance premiums. The insurance industry will never bow to pressure from consumers  because they know there are no options available; except the Affordable Health Act passed in 2010, and most Californians understood the premium increases were a direct result of healthcare insurance reform.

Paul Ryan’s plan will most likely fail because Americans are getting wise to the Republicans’ tactics of rewarding corporations and the insurance industry at the expense of every class except the wealthy. His plan would affect 170 million Americans who get their health insurance from their employers’ group plans whether in the private or public sector. The beneficiaries of Ryan’s largesse are big business who will eliminate health insurance benefits and the insurance industry that will get to charge whatever they please.  Although Ryan will most likely embark on a propaganda campaign to tout his plan’s benefits, most Americans understand that their bargaining power will be diminished if they are forced to buy insurance on their own.

Republicans voted to assault the elderly with their Medicare privatization scam that increased costs to seniors and put the industry in charge, and now they are extending their assault to include the middle class. No American should be surprised at this latest attempt by Republicans to enrich the insurance industry and big business because it is their standard operating procedure. Americans are suffering from Republican policies on every front and the only thing to do is hang on and wait for the next attempted economic rape. Make no mistake; the next assault is just around the corner and although no-one can predict how Republicans will assail every American except the filthy-rich, it will come and it will be extremely painful because they have nothing but contempt for 95% of the American people.

15 responses so far

Americans Have Seen The Light But Will They Continue To Vote For Republicans?

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The good news is that Americans are beginning to the see the light when it comes to Republicans, but the bad news is that they may not vote in their own best interests.

A recently released Washington Post poll indicates that 47% of Americans believe that Republicans favor the “haves,” while only 7% believe that Republican favor the “have-notes.” President Obama, on the other hand, is viewed by 15% of those polled as favoring the “haves,” while 29% see him as favoring the “have-nots.”

The message that should have been obvious for decades is finally beginning to be received. Whether that’s a reflection gross Republican arrogance in believing that enough Americans will support them no matter what their message is (especially if it’s mixed in with a little good, old fashioned voter suppression) or whether Democrats have finally begun to stand up for the American people in a more aggressive fashion might be worthy of discussion.

At this point, though, there is an important question: Will Americans, at least white Americans, actually vote for what’s best for them now that they know the truth?

African Americans will, as they historically have done. According to statistics shown on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Thursday, 95% of the African American vote went to Obama in 2008, 88% went to John Kerry in 2004, and 90% went to Al Gore in 2000.

This isn’t because African Americans are liberal across the board. In fact, according to O’Donnell’s guest Dorian Warren, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at Columbia University, African Americans tend to be socially conservative–more in line with Republicans than Democrats–but economics trump culture.

In other words, African Americans tend to be more concerned about their own welfare than they are about ancillary societal issues that are not as likely to directly affect them.

Will white voters, especially Christian, do the same? Will they put the economic interest of themselves ahead of their belief that gays should not be allowed to marry (or serve openly in the military) even though, if they’re not gay (or serving in the military), the topics are of no direct concern?

Will white voters put the economic interests of their children and grandchildren ahead of their religions beliefs about abortion, even though abortion is clearly an issue that does not have to directly affect them. I don’t see any liberal candidates forcing abortions on unwilling pregnant women.

Will white voters put the economic interests of the entire nation ahead of their belief that we should protect U.S. borders from illegal aliens even though it doesn’t directly affect their lives, especially if the overall economic state of the country is improving?

I guess we’ll see, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

24 responses so far

The Media Shows Their True Colors by Butter-ing Up the Tea Party

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Butter, Jen Garner

It’s a political movie, but it spoofs real life. Or what we in America have, after 3 million dollar of Koch brother money getting lost in the Tea Party, been forced to pretend is real. Anyway, it has the media critics super mad.

The long awaited Tea Party satire film Butter is coming your way October 21. Jennifer Garner plays Laura Pickler, loosely based on Palin/Bachmann. Laura carries a grudge that people are hatin’ on her because she’s white, pretty and tall. A talented, young, orphaned black girl challenges Laura in an Iowa town’s annual butter carving competition. No, Paula Deen is not in this movie; this is a movie about a mean, nasty, privileged woman.

Outraged at being challenged by anyone, let alone someone whom she feels may garner sympathy support, the put-upon Laura lectures the audience that they shouldn’t vote for “who is the more disadvantaged.” Laura then goes full tilt white resentment that no one should hate her for being born tall, white and pretty, because of course, that is the only reason anyone might not vote for her butter sculpture. And they say union members are entitled.

I am pretty sure it’s lost on the Bachmann/Palins of the world, but if we were to vote for the most disadvantaged person, it would indubitably and rather soul-killingly entail voting for one of them.

Butter is a Jim Field Smith helmed satire of the Tea Party, put out by an award season hopeful Weinstein. Here’s the clip:

Butter Clip by teasertrailer

I bet the Tea Party didn’t think anyone saw through their none-too-subtle constant moving of the goal posts, “don’t vote for the talented one, vote for who deserves it the most” (and they say white privilege is dead!) and if you don’t vote for Sarah/Michele it’s because you hate her because she’s white and beautiful and that is SO unfair.

What are the odds that at some point the Jen character says she isn’t a racist because she has black friends? Don’t ask me why; these things just come to me.

The Hollywood Reporter
jumped right on the Defend the Tea Party bus, writing, “Having a taste for Butter depends almost entirely on whether you find the comedy of condescension and ridicule a hoot or a very cheap form of amusement. This satire on self-righteous, homily-spewing Red Staters and the cutthroat world of butter carving trades almost entirely on making jokes at the expense of others, most of all an obsessed, venal woman who could pass as a kissin’ cousin to either of the two most prominent female Republican figures of the moment.”

I love it when the Hollywood Reporter comes to the defense of land they can only imagine is truly full of butter festivals — the Midwest! It’s probably gonna shock them, but having grown up in Real America, I can assure them that not everyone in the Midwest is a Tea Partier. Some of us actually read. Also, too, we are smart enough to enjoy a good satire, even at our own expense. Really. Just like y’all like to make those self-indulgent movies making fun of Hollywood because it helps you feel smarter than the Man. It’s OK, we get that the whole condescension thing can be tricky.

A confused reporter for Movie Fanatic wants us to believe that Butter is a satire about the Democratic primary of 2008. Yes, it can’t be about Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann. I must have missed the part where Hillary Clinton and her supporters suggested that anyone who didn’t vote for her hated her because she is beautiful. I don’t remember her suggesting that God had spoken to her to tell her she was Chosen for the Office. Sometimes I feel like I live in a strange land….

Just who is the target of the scathing Butter? Well, Harvey Weinstein invited Michele Bachmann to the Iowa premiere. Gosh, that’s almost clear. Let’s check out his statement:

“I would like to take this moment to formally invite Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to co-host with me the big premiere of Butter in Iowa in a few months from now….I would, of course, be more than happy to fly in the other leading members of the Tea Party movement to make an entire day of it. We could take some math classes in the morning to help balance the budget, brush up on the Constitution in the afternoon, play some ping-pong, and then maybe some verbal ping-pong on gay rights and women’s rights (especially the right to choose).”

Can you give us another hint, Harvey, ‘cuz you know, we are as confused now as the GOP banked on us being in 2008. We still can’t tell the difference between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. They both have ovaries, after all.

In spite of the confusion and poutrage, Butter took the Toronto Film Festival by storm, which is typical since we know those people aren’t Real Americans.

Heck, Butter might not be Waiting for Guffman, but not everyone can be Christopher Guest and anyway, it’s rather freeing to release ourselves from the shackles of liberal media shame and finally come out with it: Yes, Tea Party candidates, we are mocking you. No, you are not good enough. Yes, it does matter that you don’t know whether Africa is a continent or a country and also, too, we would very much like the leader of the free world to read and have a curious, alert mind. In case it’s not clear, we are mocking you because it’s all we can do in order to survive the surreal fact that you exist and are being sold to us as possible contenders for the highest office in the world.

And also, we mock you because you deserve it. Don’t tread on our rights to enjoy this film, hater!

Oh, and lastly, today was supposed to be Drop Dead Day for Sarah Palin (relax, those are her words!). This was the day the Anointed was supposed to announce to her cult that she was indeed doing Jesus’ will and running for the President. I expected the heavens to open up at some point today, but so far, it’s all doom and gloom. Jesus must be blinking.

Someone had to, the Republican Party sure as heck wasn’t going to do it.

Image: Movie Fanatic

8 responses so far

Watch Occupy Wall Street Protest Police Harassment

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Today, Occupy Wall Street has organized a march to One Police Plaza to protest police harassment. Here is the live video.


The march on One Police Plaza will take place in about an hour or so, in the meantime, enjoy some music from Liberty Park.

Here is the live video. (They have been having issues with the stream, so it can be a bit dodgy):

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

Earlier in a blog post Occupy Wall Street addressed the media attention that the incidents of police harassment and brutality have received, and said that they are protesting on behalf of the NYPD too, “Let us also be clear that, when approached as individuals, members of the NYPD have expressed solidarity with our cause. It has been inspiring to receive this support. Over these thirteen days, we have learned that no one supports corporations’ disproportionate influence in the political sphere. We have learned that no one is in favor of evicting struggling families to the street while banks continue to profit. No one, that is, except the corporations and banks. We urge members of the NYPD to remain in solidarity with our cause. These men and women could lose their pensions and benefits during the next round of budget cuts. We ask that members of the NYPD treat all peaceful human beings with respect and care. This will be a great step towards reclaiming power for the working class. Those who profit off the suffering of others will held accountable. We are the 99%, and we are too big to fail.”

In other news, The Washington Post has finally noticed that the Occupy Wall Street protests are growing in size, better late than never I guess.

8 responses so far

The Truth Behind Eric Cantor’s Breitbarting of Warren Buffett

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Warren Buffett Supports the Ideas Behind the Buffett Rule

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is leading the charge to protect the rich. This morning, Cantor uploaded a CNBC video on his You Tube page (yes, he has one) he titled, “Warren Buffet Seems To Disagree With President Obama’s “Buffet Rule” (that’s Buffett, Eric). This is, of course, not at all what happened.

In fact, Buffett knocked down the GOP’s business uncertainty meme before he repeatedly said he supported what President Obama is trying to do, and that he would need to read the actual bill before commenting on said bill. Doh.

That didn’t stop Cantor’s communication director from tweeting: “Tough day for the White House – Warren Buffett not so much a fan of President Obama’s Buffett Rule. Yeeesh”

This naturally set off an orgasmic frenzy on the right, with the RNC leading the way on Twitter: “Warren Buffett Not So Keen On ‘Buffett Rule’” under the hashtag of #Obamanomics. (The grown ups are apparently out for the day.) The National Review, The Daily Caller, the DC Examiner and more are jumped on this meme faster than Joe Wilson screaming, “You lie!” Each headline getting progressively farther from the truth, until the DC Examiner’s headline fell on the sword of lies: “Buffett doesn’t support Obama’s ‘Buffett Rule'”

Once again we have to debunk these boys, but there’s a treat in store for you this time. While Sorkin was trying to get Buffett to say he didn’t agree with the President’s plan, Buffett managed to kill the GOP’s “uncertainty” meme along with explaining that he supports people like himself paying their fair share of taxes. Ouch. Because Buffett wouldn’t comment on something he hadn’t yet read, the Republicans decided he must not support it.

This is called projection.

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin sits down with Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway CEO:

Actually, after Buffett was done knocking down the GOP meme that Obama is anti-business, Buffett said there is not uncertainty for businesses in America right now. Oh noes! No matter, Eric is a good Republican so he simply ignored that part. Then, Warren said he supports the idea that the wealthy should pay their share of taxes and he is waiting to read the actual legislation before he comments further.

Naturally Eric Cantor took this to mean that he didn’t agree, because Cantor doesn’t believe in reading bills, as evidenced in the number of times he and his Republican cohorts complained about the healthcare reform bill being too long to read but not too long to criticize. We do pay his aides hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to read things for him, but this is still not sufficient apparently. Eric Cantor, a government welfare bum, can’t even read. And they wonder why government “doesn’t work.”

A wee trip to reality land via what Buffett actually said today:

Sorkin: One of the other reasons you’re in town is for this Obama fund-raiser tonight. So many people say that the president is anti-business. Do you believe he’s anti-business, and why not?

Buffett: No. Rhetoric and policies. He took action to save General Motors and Chrysler. He embarked programs that have kept the banks around. He knows, and he knew it ten years ago. It’s like a –

Sorkin: So the talk of higher taxes and more regulation you don’t think is creating more uncertainty in the business community?

Buffett: I don’t have any uncertainty. We are investing at Berkshire record 7 billion in plant and equipment this year, never before that much. 90-plus percent is in the United States. We’re seeing our businesses doing well. Business is coming back in the United States.

Sorkin: Let’s talk about the Buffett rule for a moment. How did it come about in terms of the white house getting in touch with you and you put you are your name to this?

Buffett: Gene Sperling called and said, can we use your name? I said, yes.

Sorkin: Are you happy you want —

Buffett: Yes. sure, I wrote about it.

Sorkin: Are you happy with the way it’s being described. Is the program that the White House has presented your program?

Buffett: (some people actually read things before commenting on them, so old fashioned Warren!) Well, the precise program, I don’t know what their program will be. My program would be on the very high incomes that are taxed very low — not just high incomes.

If you make 50 million appearing on television, that income won’t change, but if they make a lot of money and pay a low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax.

Sorkin: Does that mean you disagree with the president’s new jobs proposal which would be paid for by raising taxes on households with incomes of over $250,000.

Buffett: That’s another program I won’t be discussing, but my program is to have a tax on ultra-rich people who are paying very low tax rates. Not just all the rich people. It probably would apply for 50,000 people.

Sorkin: (fighting to get a sound bite) That means you disagree with the president on the 250,000.

Buffett: (too wise for you Sorkin) No, no, you may disagree –

(So it seems, eh, Warren?)

Sorkin: I’m asking, you agree that 250,000 is the right number?

Buffett: I will look at the overall plan that gets submitted to congress and decide net do I like it or do I not like it? There’s no question there will be parts I disagree with.

Sorkin: Are you a supporter of his jobs program right now?

Buffett: I am a supporter of the action he’s trying to get the congress to join him in taking to really do something.

(OH NO. Buffett just said he is a supporter of what Obama is doing. But, wait, that is not at all what the Right is running with. Spin this crap, doctor!)

Sorkin: But you agree with all the details or no?

Buffett: (again) I haven’t looked at all details.

Sorkin: Fair enough

End Transcript

Yeah, that was SO Buffett disagreeing with the Buffett rule! Way to go Eric, you leader of the House of Representatives, and a special prize for the conservative media who wasted no time carrying Cantor’s unchecked water. This is called “breitbarting” – selectively editing to suggest someone meant something quite different than the full context suggests.

Warren Buffett is obviously behind the idea that we need to generate revenue and that the folks who are not paying the same share as others should have to pay their fair share. He may not agree with every aspect of the plan after he reads it, but he does agree with the general principle and he is supportive of what the President is trying to do in getting Congress on board to actually do something.

Psst- little hint: Just because Republicans make up their mind without reading bills doesn’t mean everyone does that.

Maybe they should take a hint from Warren, because Buffett is much more successful than they are and according the the GOP, wealth makes right. While the Republicans wring their hands over “uncertainty”, winners like Buffett are investing and getting even more rich. Therefore, Warren Buffett is more right than they are. He works harder, he’s more entitled, and he is a job creator, which Eric Cantor can never be, seeing as he is a “big government teat-sucking parasite.” Oh, sorry, that only applies to those other government workers. My bad.

The Buffett Rule is not exactly a cruel class warfare attack on Paris Hilton. The idea is that “no household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families pay.” Share means that instead of the super rich getting so many deductions that they pay a 5% share of their income, they would pay the same share as the rest of America. Kleenexes courtesy of the Koch brothers will be provided for Cantor’s sponsors.

Epic fail.

16 responses so far

Cowardly Democratic Senators Refuse To Raise Taxes On The Rich

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

In an interview with a local Chicago radio station today, Sen. Dick Durbin said that several Democratic senators are refusing to vote to raise taxes on the wealthy because they are up for reelection in 2012.

In an interview this morning Sen. Dick Durbin told WLS 890 radio,

“The oil-producing state senators don’t like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies. There are some senators who are up for election who say I’m never gonna vote for a tax increase while I’m up for election, even on the wealthiest people. So, we’re not gonna have 100% Democratic senators. That’s why it needs to be bi-partisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.”

Because some Democrats are refusing to support the creation of 1.9 million new jobs and a tax on the rich that has a 73% approval rating, Obama’s jobs bill is sitting in the Senate still awaiting action. This is a perfect example of the political dynamic that Obama is up against. The president can’t be FDR or LBJ and just tell the Democrats in the Senate to do something. We aren’t living in the 1930s or 1960s. Senators are independent little kings who are more concerned about saving their own political hides than the president’s agenda.

Obama is doing exactly what many on the left asked for. He is telling the Senate to do something, and they are not listening. The problem isn’t one of presidential leadership. It is a lack of political courage on the part of some Democrats in the legislative branch. This exact scenario has been played out repeatedly in recent history. George W. Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform bill was killed by senators in his own party who feared that supporting the bill would hurt their reelection chances. The public option was killed by Senate Democrats who feared for their own political futures.

The fact that there are some Democrats who refuse to support increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans despite the fact that the idea is overwhelmingly popular illuminates where the problem resides in our political system. Senators no longer depend on the president for their reelection. They raise their own money, and run their own campaigns. They don’t need the blessing of the president or the Democratic Party anymore. Corporate campaign cash and wealthy political donors have undercut a president’s power to persuade the Congress.

The next time somebody on the left grumbles about Obama’s leadership remind them that it was Senate Democrats who refused to tax the wealthy in an election year. The American people overwhelmingly support it, Obama has been traveling the country touting it, but a few Senate Democrats are going to defy the will of the people and this president and not vote to make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.

The activist left needs to redirect its ire away from Obama and towards those Democrats in the Senate who don’t realize that taxing the rich will help their reelection campaigns, and that beyond reelection, it’s the right thing to do.

It’s not Obama. It’s not the American people. The problem is the out of touch cowards in the Democratic caucus, who are betraying the will of the people and intentionally sacrificing the jobless by refusing to stand up and make the rich pay their fair share.

29 responses so far

The Problem Isn’t Socialism, It’s Free Trade

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

What is the real driver of the crisis in Europe and how does it relate to the United States?  The tea party and the Republican Party have been using the debt crisis in Europe as an example of failed priorities. They say Europe is spending too much, specifically on their social programs and this gives them reason to cut ,cut ,cut here in the United States  programs such as WIC, Welfare, and food stamps. But it turns out that the PIIGS, (Portugal,Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have a huge deficit that is gaining more attention, and that deficit is trade. In Portugal, the trade deficit in July of 2010 was 2.4 billion EURO. The rest of the countries feeling the heat to make social program cuts are in the same situation. Even the united States is seeing the impact of some bad trade agreements.

The difference with the European debt crisis is the inability for sovereign countries to make monetary decisions on their own. Portugal and the rest of the countries rely on the EURO central bank. Individual countries in the EURO zone cannot devalue their currency to increase exports and lift them out of debt. Devaluing currency makes it cheaper to export goods and reduce the trade deficit.

So the people within the Euro Zone must take huge cuts in pay, something completely disagreed with, in order to increase their exports and make production cheaper.   Comparatively, in the United States we have a huge trade deficit and if the ten thousand factories that fled to low wage countries were still in this country the tax base would be larger, more people would be working and our fiscal deficit would evaporate  Instead those U.S. Corporations that fled to  Mexico, China, Vietnam and India  are only aiding those countries in climbing out of poverty.

Simon Johnson, author of 13 Bankers, does an incredible job explaining the mid 90s bailout of Mexico and the devaluation of the Peso which helped them increase trade and create a trade surplus. The bailout, which for the most part was given by the United States, was paid off in a year.

How many of our cities and towns are currently under financial distress because their industrial base left, leaving vacant properties plaguing their communities? How many million of dollars in property taxes could be used to support the firemen,policemen and teachers if our trade policies protected the American worker and our communities?

Now we all know the conservative answer is to cut taxes. But are we going to be able to cut taxes low enough to compete with with one hundred dollar a month wages? No, of course not, but that is the pipe dream of the right wing.  It’s a lie they have pushed onto the American people to benefit their campaign supporters.

So the Euro debt crisis is not a failure of government spending, and neither is America’s debt problem a spending problem. It is primarily a trade problem that has caused this crisis. It has only benefited the outsourcing corporation, their CEOs who have a bulk of their pay locked into the stock of the company and a handful of very wealthy, multinational investors.

Let’s fix our trade imbalance, right the ship and move forward. Stop cutting services that help the very people who were harmed by the outsourcing and let’s focus on the main problem, free trade.

7 responses so far

California’s New Personhood Law Masquerading as Human Rights Amendment

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

In California, where haters once peddled Proposition 8, we see the the sinister but very positive-sounding “California Human Rights Amendment.” Humans Rights – and from a conservative group. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

And if you think it’s too good to be true – well, it is. What passes for support for rights is just another ill-disguised attack on women’s reproductive rights – because rights, when used by conservatives in this country, are always “subtractive” rights. In fact, the only real right this bill grants is the right for rapists to procreate by way of their victims.

That doesn’t sound like progress to me.

This latest personhood gimmick (we’ve seen many of them) claims the “inherent human rights, dignity and worth of all human  beings from the beginning of their biological development as human beings” but its real goal is to make abortion illegal – even in cases of rape or incest (“regardless of the means by which they were procreated”), or fetal anomaly. In other words, just as taking away workers rights somehow supports their rights,  taking away women’s reproductive rights is a promotion of human rights.

Beware of conservatives bearing gifts, as Homer would say:

“The California Human Rights Amendment recognizes the inherent human rights, dignity and worth of all human beings from the beginning of their biological development as human organisms — regardless of the means by which they were procreated, method of reproduction, age, race, sex, gender, physical well-being, function, or condition of physical or mental dependency and/or disability.”

According to the amendment’s author, California Civil Rights Foundation (CCRF) founder and President  Walter B. Hoye II:

“Human personhood is the final chapter of the Civil Rights movement. It proposes commonsense values for otherwise convoluted jurisprudence. From the pre-born child, to the senior citizen facing end of life decisions, to the disabled veteran, we believe all human beings should be protected by love and by law. This is the end game. Personhood is what the Pro-Life movement looks like victorious.”


This deal belongs in the ever-popular Monty Python-ish “every sperm is sacred” Personhood Gimmick Category.

One obvious giveaway is the endorsement of the infamous homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. This is the same Tony Perkins who blames tolerance and diversity for Republican Mark Foley’s sending of sexually suggestive messages to teenage boys who had served as congressional pages – rather than blaming Mark Foley himself (much in the same way women are guilty of being raped, not the rapist).

Here’s what Tendentious Tony has to say:

Since 1973, over thirty five long years ago, millions upon millions – well over 40,000,000 – babies have been slain under the guise of “choice.”  Choosing death is never a good or acceptable option, and some good people in California have worked hard to give women real choices that favor life.

Other states should draw inspiration from the commitment and perseverance of those behind the California Human Rights Amendment. This is not about party affiliation or ideology.  This is about recognizing the sanctity of human life and citizens’ obligation to enact laws to protect it.  I applaud the cause of the California Human Rights Amendment and praise its supporters for not sitting idly by, and instead, taking action to protect those who cannot defend themselves.[1]

Of course, Tony Perkins notably does NOT support the sanctity of human life when it’s the members of the LGBT community whose rights are at stake. He doesn’t mind them being born but he’ll be damned if he’s going to tolerate them once they are. He is one of the most rabidly homophobic guys around.

According to the American Independent,

Other groups sponsoring CCRF’s personhood efforts are Lila Rose, who has led the movement to abolish Planned Parenthood through her organization Live Action; Bishop Ron Allen, president of the International Faith Based Coalition; Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and Jason Jones, president of the Human Rights Education and Relief Organization, who also runs an organization called Bella Hero, which distributes “Bella” DVDs to crisis pregnancy centers, mostly to those run by Care-Net and Heartbeat International.

It will be interesting to see how the goals of destroying women’s reproductive rights jibe with the goal of banning the existence of non-heterosexual folks and privileging heterosexual Protestant Christian conservatives. I mean, to any sane person human rights are human rights and you can’t claim you support them at the same time you try to take them away. The only outcome I can see is this: It is okay to condemn people after they’re born but you have to let them be born first. Just like Rick Perry loves live so much he’s willing to kill people to prove it. You gotta love that conservative logic. It’s a weird and wacky world they live in – it’s a shame we’re forced to share it.

No explanation has been offered – of course – as to just how this is going to promote job growth or reduce government spending.

[1] According to, Rick Perry’s claim of 50 million is closer to the mark, though they point out that “an unknown share of the 50 million aborted pregnancies referenced by Perry would not have resulted in live children, due to the natural risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.”

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Bernie Sanders Is The First US Senator To Support Occupy Wall Street

Sep 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

On Countdown With Keith Olbermann, Sen. Bernie Sanders became the first US Senator to voice his support for Occupy Wall Street.

Here is the video:

Sen. Sanders said about Occupy Wall Street, “What I appreciate about what’s going on in New York right now is that there is a spotlight being focused on Wall Street. We desperately need that. If we are going to get out of this recession, if we’re going to create the millions of jobs we desperately need, we need real Wall Street reform. A lot of people don’t know this, you have six financial institutions the largest six banks in the country who control sixty percent of the assets in the United States of America. After we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, three of the four largest financial institutions actually became bigger.”

He continued, “If we are going to create a situation where capital is going to flow into the productive economy, into manufacturing, into rebuilding our infrastructure, into transforming our energy system, rather than continuing the casino type games that Wall St. is playing right now, we need a lot of pressure on Wall Street, no question about that.”

Sen. Sanders said focusing attention on Wall Street is exactly the right thing to do. Later America’s favorite Socialist had a message for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, “My message is reach out to working people. Reach out to the unions, reach out to the middle class bring people together demanding real Wall Street reform, so that the function of Wall Street is to provide capital to the productive economy , create jobs that we desperately need rather than continue to engage in speculation and casino type activities, i.e. real real Wall Street reform.”

Sanders said that he would try to attend the protest on October 6 in Washington, D.C. Host Keith Olbermann said that Bernie Sanders is one of the few public officials who will speak about this, and to the best of my knowledge, he is the first U.S. Senator to publicly come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

It is no surprise that Sen. Sanders is the only member of the Senate so far to support the protests. From January 2009-March 2010, big banks and Wall Street spent $500 million on lobbying and campaign contributions to derail real financial reform and consumer protections. The Senate is infested with Wall Street cash. This is why real financial reform and Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency had no chance.

The fact that Washington D.C. is polluted with Wall Street dollars is exactly why these protests are so important. A popular rebellion is the only way that the American people are ever going to take their democracy back from the moneyed interests. People must demand that their dollars be spent where they are needed instead of circulating through the Wall Street/Washington Money Laundering Machine. Unless we the people demand more, we are certain to get less.

Sen. Sanders should not only be a guest at the Washington rally. He should be a featured speaker. The Occupy Wall Street protests have a chance to spread freedom’s message beyond Madison and into every part of this country. It is time for the left to come together behind this common cause. Join Bernie Sanders and Occupy Wall Street in liberating our country from the grasp of corruption and greed.

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There Is No Greater Danger To Our Constitution Than Religious Frenzy

Sep 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

America’s experiment as a sort-of democratic republic has lasted for about 235 years, and for the most part, the system has worked relatively well. Since 1980 though, there has been a movement to change the nature of this country and the Republicans’ man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan, is responsible for unleashing the Religious Right on the nation and they are close to achieving their goals after the 2010 midterm elections that gave power to malignant teabaggers to collapse the government. Republicans are awash with funding from religious groups to enforce biblical laws against gays and women, but there is a bigger threat from Dominionists to form a theocratic government that is just now becoming evident to many Americans.

Two weeks ago this column addressed the Mississippi ballot initiative that replicates the personhood amendments many states have attempted to enact at the behest of fundamentalist Christian groups, the Catholic Church, and the American Family Association (AFA). The article pointed out that Mississippi’s ballot initiative 26 will most certainly pass and will withstand court challenges because the state supreme court’s bench is filled with 7 devout Christians reflecting Mississippi’s population that is fervently Christian (82%). The amendment is undoubtedly an attack on women’s right to choose their own reproductive health, but there is an insidious motive beyond  just restricting contraceptives, stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, and abortion.

The personhood amendment’s author, Les Riley, said his amendment would have “international implications” and should be “the biggest news in the pro-life movement in 20 years,” and that it will engender a court challenge to overturn Roe v. Wade. As horrible as that sounds, it is not Riley’s only goal and his history informs the beginning of a movement to change America into a theocracy. In 2003, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws because they were unconstitutional, Riley was part of a movement to remake South Carolina into an independent theocratic republic dedicated to forming a “free Southern Republic” based on biblical law. The neo-secessionist movement, Christian Exodus, had as its goal formation of “an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire.”

Riley was leader of the Mississippi chapter of the League of the South whose neo-confederate theory was that the nation could be saved by breaking it apart. They called for a nation rooted on European principles and population (read White) based on Christian Reconstructionism, and believe America was founded on and needs to return to biblical law. Riley calls Washington D.C. “Sodom on the Potomac” and follows the teachings of Reconstructionist leader R.J. Rushdoony who says “all ideas are inherently religious.” One of the ideas of Riley’s personhood amendment are that rape or incest victims are not eligible for abortions or the morning after pill because they claim that although rape or incest are unfortunate, “you don’t execute the product of the crime,” because “that’s what abortion does.” They also say that after fertility procedures, unused embryos “can’t be destroyed if people want to adopt embryos just like they want to adopt children” and that instead of using them for research or throwing them out, they should be frozen. An opinion writer in Jackson suggested that freezing embryos may be classified as child abuse, and the Yes on 26 website said using embryonic stem cells for research is tantamount to “human cannibalism.”

Although men like Riley are the epitome of insanity, they are gaining momentum in their drive to change the government into a theocracy. Mississippi is the most religious state in the nation, but it is not alone in pursuing personhood for zygotes. PersonhoodUSA is a national movement that is active in all 50 states and they claim that their movement is the “most important civil rights struggle of our age.” Whether or not it is a civil rights movement is questionable at best, but it is telling that Christians in every state are supporting a radical notion, but zygotes as persons are the least of the country’s problems if the Dominionists are not stopped in their tracks. Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum all signed an anti-gay pledge to appoint Christians for all federal courts as well as a presidential commission to investigate proponents of gay marriage for attacking Christians who support traditional marriage.

It may seem alarmist to give attention to these sinister personhood amendments, but they are precursors  of Christian rule in America. The entire concept of a zygote as a person has as its basis the Christian bible and these extremists will not stop at punishing women; or gays. Riley’s history gives a hint that, in pursuing a European population model based on the bible for the new America, all ethnicities except Caucasian are in danger if the Christian Reconstructionists gain power. There have been arguments proffered that the Dominionists are not in power at the federal level, but they are entrenched in many states’ governments and that is where the danger really lies. The “tenther movement” is gaining momentum along with personhood movements and a Republican president and Congress could allow states to dictate their religious agenda to the entire country regardless the Constitution’s separation of church and state. However, as Republican Christian conservatives are infiltrating the government at every level, their goal of replacing the Constitution with biblical law is becoming more of a legitimate threat.

Most Americans are not aware of Christian Reconstructionists or Dominionism, but they should be. The problem is not necessarily all Christians, but given the choice of supporting the Constitution or the bible, there are few Christians who will opt for the Constitution. There is nothing as dangerous as religious frenzy and although the religious right has been involved in the government since Reagan gave them a voice, they are making progress towards establishing a theocracy. It is important to remember that not all Germans were anti-Semites, but as the movement gained momentum and nationalism became intertwined with Hitler’s final solution, it was not long before exterminating Jews became a national movement. The fanatics in the Dominionist movement are having success with the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation, and with support from groups like the tea party that dreams of collapsing the government to reshape it into a Christian, family-values theocracy, a religious takeover could happen before decent Americans knew what hit them.

The question still remains; where are the Christian voices who are not fanatical extremists? Apparently, they either condone a theocratic takeover by Dominionists or they are too frightened to speak out against the fundamentalist threat. Now that nearly all of the Republican presidential contenders are unapologetic Christians who tout their faith as a positive attribute, the threat is more credible than ever. However, there is a dysfunctional belief in this country among most of the population that Christians are basically good folk who can do no harm and it plays a role in helping Dominionists reach their goal. It is a goal of the bible as the rule of law and an Inquisition to root out non-believers for punitive regulation and the first victims will be those who are speaking out and attempting to warn Americans that democracy is finished unless the Dominionists are stopped. It may be unbelievable, but just ask people who face death threats from Christians every day.

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