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Friday, October 26, 2012

Huntsman distances himself from Mitt Romney on Women's health

Yesterday on Huffpost live Jon Huntsman, former presidential candidate and one of the few in the Republican party that still uses his brain, came out against Mitt Romney's support of Richard "your rape is a gift from god" Mourdock.


When asked about the comments from Mourdock, Huntsman replied:

"I cringe. It’s like fingers on a chalkboard every time I hear men talk about women’s health issues."

I Couldn't agree more myself Jon. This whole talk by unqualified old white dudes when it comes to women's health is pretty disturbing, and I'm sure many women agree. It's not the place of men who don't even understand how a woman's body actually works to try and legislate it. 

That's like sticking a computer programmer who doesn't watch football into a game as a referee. Just like the replacement refs he's gonna make some bad calls. 

But at least his bad calls only affect a game, whereas people like Mourdock can seriously affect women's health and lives. See people like Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney believe that you should have your rapists baby and then have to allow that rapist to be in that kids life.  31 states  have laws that allow the rapists to file for custody and visitation rights. So first the women must have the rape baby, then allow that baby to be subjected to the father, a rapist. 

I can see almost no circumstance where that works out for the child.

And then there is the support for personhood, where Mitt Romney assured people in a telephone call that he "absolutely supports the blunt amendment" which is a personhood bill that would ban abortion as well as many forms of hormonal birth control.

But that's okay, according to Rush Limbaugh every women on birth control is a slut. 
Except that's completely wrong, just like everything else that comes out of Rushba the Hutt's mouth. According to NPR It's estimated that 1.5 million women on birth control take it for medical reasons.

But back to Huntsman, one other important thing he said during the interview was:

" This is a complete waste of time for Americans, and they know it, and they’re angered by this kind of talk."

Nail on the head, this is 2012, why the hell are we still fighting over women's rights? 

Truth is the right in Washington doesn't care about this (aside from a few nutballs like Mourdock and Akin), but it gets votes. Bush had eight years to challenge abortion rights. He didn't even try to do anything about it. It's simply a red meat issue to toss out to the base in election season and the people eat it up. 

So while Huntsman is right, it's a waste of time to bring it up as well it being a great distraction from the great middle class robbery Mitt Romney is planning. It's also something we on the left need to fight back on to protect women's rights. 

As for Huntsman, if he really wants to be seen as sane and credible; he might as well jump off the sinking ship that is the Republican party and write off all those tea party crazies like Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, etc. and come over the sane side. If it's good enough for Charlie Crist, it's good enough for you.

Whaddya say Jon?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Republican war on truth: Part 1

We have a war going on in this country. No I don't mean the one in Afghanistan, or the war on terror. It's a war fought on the airwaves and on the Internet. Where one side comes armed with facts and reason, and other comes armed with lies, deception, and ignorance. It's a war on science, logic, facts and reason. It's a war we're not winning.

It's a war where facts that have been proven are called into question by those who deny them simply because of a political agenda. Where propaganda and conspiracy theories rule the day. How can you get through to people if facts and studies and statistics don't work?

I'm not sure you can. That's a huge problem, we have big problems in this country and we cannot possibly solve them if we can't even agree on "reality". It's an argument where one side says the sky is blue, but the other says it's red, and when we bring in the science to prove it, they scream "LIBERAL BIAS".  How do you reason with someone like that?

That's a big problem us Liberals have, we genuinely think everyone is reasonable, that if you just say the right things, show the right graphs, or explain things in a simple way that people will be swayed and accept the facts as you do.

We couldn't be more deluded.

It's painful for me to say, but in my experience it's true. I spent way too much time bringing facts and reason to debates to have those I argue against shut down and immediately go to the latest talking points they heard on Fox.  It's a lot like Mitt Romney's strategy; just keep repeating "We built it" when the entire premise of that attack was proven to be built on a statement that was taken out of context. How about the $716 Billion dollar Medicare lie that's been killed more times than South Park's Kenny? Yet just like that foul mouthed, orange coat wearing kid from Colorado, that lie keeps coming back.

Climate change is also put into question in this war. Even though scientific studies and models are continuously being put out that prove global warming is real and is a major challenge. Even a Koch brothers funded study admitted to climate change being real and man made. Once again the right wing lie factories continue to put out this perception that the science is incomplete. Using snappy messaging and conspiracy theories the right paints Liberals who care about the Earth we live on as enemies of capitalism, and destroyers of America when it is their policies that will sicken the Earth and bring about catastrophic global change that *will* destroy the very land we call America.

They have elected officials like Michele Bachmann, who famously said:

"there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn’t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth’s life cycle. "

Then there's Sarah Palin who on climate change says:

“We knew the bottom line … was ultimately to shut down a lot of our development. And it didn’t make any sense because it was based on these global warming studies that now we’re seeing (is) a bunch of snake-oil science.”

For someone that can supposedly see Russia from her house, she apparently cannot see the forest through the trees.

The war on facts gets more personal with Todd Akin who said on a TV interview:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Of course that's completely wrong, a study done in 1996 came to the conclusion that:
"Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies 
and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization."

"The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator."

But you know, facts be damned when it comes to the Republican party. Just ask Richard Mourdock who believes that rape babies are a "gift from god"

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Instead of facts, empathy and reason Republicans often turn to the invisible sky fairy god who thinks rape is A-Okay but abortion will damn you to hell. Except that the Bible doesn't explicitly mention abortion. It is at best ambiguous.

That's just another example of the right making things up to suit their political agenda. I don't know if these people really believe that they know what god is thinking. The real question here is why are we electing people to serve in our congress that are saying they believe these crazy things? Because whatever their true beliefs are, they use gut instincts, ignorance and hate to get people to side with them.

You know the tried and true formula of campaigning on guns, god and gays.
Every right wing blog and website has some sort of conspiracy saying that President Obama is going to take away your guns,  your religion, and force homosexuality on America. Even Ted Cruz, Tea Party backed Republican senate hopeful says that U.N. is going to come and make us live in hobbit homes without paved roads. Just google agenda 21 and be amazed at the nuttery you'll find. All of these are not backed up with one shred of evidence, but they sell it, and half the country buys it.


The corporate media.

It's not the sole reason but it's a huge part of the problem. When news organizations give a platform for people to spread propaganda without refuting it because they're scared of being called bias, that's a problem. When a supposed news organization can lie all day and yet boast being the highest rated news channel on television, that's a problem. When the media has been consolidated to the point of six large corporations owning 90% of the media we consume, that's a problem.

And then there is the education system in this country, and how it continues to be threatened.
(to be continued...)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To Fox News: Quit Whining!

The debates are now over.

Both candidates are now out making the last push to get the last undecided voters and make sure their bases are energized and are going to turn out. Voter registration for Democrats is outpacing Republican registration in certain states and with the Obama/Biden team having won three out of four debates it's looking good for the Presidents reelection bid.

Unless you watch Fox news.

In their world Mitt Romney held his own against an aggressive, factually challenged bully who, in the words of Fox News talking head Charles Krauthammer "went very, very small – shockingly small". In their world snap polls are socialist plots meant to mislead "true Americans" (old white people) and in their world moderators and the media are all in the pocket of the evil democrat machine who's intent is to lead our great nation down the path of marxist communism by making you buy your own health insurance.

This rabbit hole goes deep.

Despite the fact that the president and vice president have repeatedly caught Romney/Ryan lying their collective pants off during those debates, and the fact checkers have repeatedly debunked almost everything that came out of Romneys' mouth, Fox news has the audacity to at the very least call these debates a draw.

A draw!

But clowns like Krauthammer repeatedly damn the facts  even though a Fox news poll of their audience has shown President Obama to be the winner of the last debate by a comfortable margin.
But if Romney won the debates, as Fox news claims, what with all the whining?

When Candy Crowley fact checked Romney on his Libya lie, conservatives went nuts, with Fox and Friends saying that Crowley was wrong to fact check Romney mid debate. Sure, Fox wants people to fact check after the debate when it doesn't matter. It's not just that, but Fox news has shown time and time again that facts don't matter, even things that have been debunked previously seem to be coming back. It's kinda like an episode of the walking dead.

The fact of the matter is, that Romney is a terrible candidate. He's a real life caricature of Thurston Howell the third, or the monopoly man. And during a time of massive inequality, families hurting, unemployment still high and massive debt (thank Dubya for those!) and huge Wall Street and corporate profits while wages stagnate. The public does not want a guy who not only represents Wall Street, but argues that corporations are people, who are taxed too much, and that the poor are the problem. So when our President calls him out on these things, Fox has no way to defend Romney but to lie, and cry about moderators.

I think it's time for Fox to move on, you've lost, quit whining.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Voter intimidation: GOP Style

As the election draws near some of the GOP backers have been sending out some not subtle messages to their employees in an effort to deny Barack Obama a second term.

The newest attempt at voter intimidation is coming from of course none other than billionaire right wingers; Charles and David Koch, of Koch industries.

Photo By AP Photo, Koch Industries Mon, Oct 15, 2012 10:00 AM EDT


The evidence for this comes from a packet sent to a retiree obtained by Alternet from a Koch industries plant in Virginia. This packet contains a list of Koch approved candidates who are, surprise surprise all Republicans. The list of candidates was printed on official Koch industries letterhead and was sent with a warning:

"If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills."

At the bottom of the letter it states: “This is a paid political advertisement by Koch Industries, Inc."

So while it's not spelled out directly, it's not a stretch of the imagination to see this letter as threatening employees with "consequences" and "other ills" like pay cuts or job losses should Obama gain a second term.

Not that they haven't kicked ass under Obama, in 2009 Koch industries reported $100 Billion in revenue (Profit numbers not published) and earned the #2 spot on Forbes "America's largest private companies" list.

But with Romney's promise of using an energy plan that was written by the oil and gas industry, the Koch's see a Romney administration as a veritable cash cow, just waiting for them to milk it for all it's worth. Which is why the Koch brothers have dumped millions into Mitt Romney's campaign super PAC.

Photo By Laruen Greenfield/Magnolia Pictures Wed, Oct 10, 2012 11:00 AM EDT
Not surprisingly, the Koch's aren't the only deranged billionaires that are threatening layoffs depending on the presidential election outcome in November.

David Siegel (pictured right on his...golden throne) is the CEO of Westgate Resort. He recently sent an email to his employees saying that:

"If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone."

Even though admitting that under president Obama his company is: “the most profitable [it's] ever been.” he goes on to say: "The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration."

All this from a guy who's famous for building the largest house in America and then being in a documentary about it.

I do declare.

It gets worse. It's not just CEO's threatening layoffs, but it's also voter purges, like the ones done in Florida, voter ID laws that have popped up in the states, and finally intimidation by organizations like "True The Vote." Which by the way is being investigated by Rep. Elijah Cummings for challenging primarily democratic voters. Students, African Americans, Latinos, and poor people.

Gee who's left...?

The whole point of the True The Vote campaign is to watch for and prevent "voter fraud." but with the fact that the likelihood of being struck by lightning, or seeing a UFO is much higher than people committing voter fraud, maybe they should invest in tinfoil hats instead of training a million volunteers. This reeks of a solution that is searching for a problem.

I don't understand how in a country where even in the last election which was the highest turnout since 1960, 80 million eligible people didn't even bother to vote. With so much apathy one has to wonder, if so many people don't bother to vote once, what makes you think someone would bother to vote twice? Makes no sense.

Luckily I found something about this whole situation that does make sense.


Romney has vowed to cut taxes for everyone by 20% while closing undisclosed "loopholes" and getting rid of the tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains, which will benefit the very wealthy. 

The rich get richer.

Billionaires like the Koch brothers and David Siegel are almost salivating at the thought of the millions they will save from paying a lower tax rate. I wish someone would ask them why the fuck they need another tax cut. It's not as if they can't afford a golden throne.

Or a car elevator.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why giving tax cuts to the rich hurts everyone. Even the rich.

Most of us think about money, but we usually think about it in the terms of how we don't have enough, or how much we'll get paid. We don't think about what it really is, what its purpose is, and why it even exists. The reality is, is that money is a fiction.

It's not real.

"Oooookay" you're thinking. But wait let me explain.

Money is a human construct, it has its value placed on it by humans, everything about it is man made. Even the principle. Money came as a way to replace a system of barter, so that you didn't necessarily have to have something the other person wanted in order to get something you want from them. 

Currency became a great boon, allowing people to trade notes for things they want from others, and so on and so forth. Money is made to be exchanged from one person to the next, on and on, ever circulating. It's the life blood of any economy. Spreading purchasing power to everyone like blood spreads oxygen to every organ to keep it healthy. 

And like a healthy body, a healthy economy is one where everyone has money to purchase things, and uses that money, keeping it in circulation as it is meant to be.

But when money is hoarded, and not spent, or given to those who have little need to spend it, there becomes less and less money in circulation. Less money in circulation reduces the ability to buy things for the majority of everyone else. But that doesn't mean that printing more money is the answer either, because even though you're adding more money into the economy, you still have those who are hoarding large amounts, and all that does is reduce the value of money.

So you really don't solve the problem. 

So why is it that Governor Romney, Paul Ryan, and the rest of the Republicans want to cut taxes for the rich?

Because people no longer understand the reason why money exists. It has simply become a status symbol

No one needs a net worth $250 Million. You can raise your family, buy everyone a car and a home, keep food on the table, and invest in your hobbies with much less. 

But because there are so many people with so much money that they don't really know what to spend on, some crafty entrepreneurs have found ways to separate some of these rich "fools" from their money. 

Even so, what they spend, does not make up for what everyone else is unable to spend.

You may remember Nick Hanauer, the billionaire investor who did the Ted talk on income inequality. He said in his presentation that:

 "there can never be enough super-rich people to power a great economy. Somebody like me makes hundreds or thousands as times much as the median American, but I don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times as much stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and shirts a year like most American men. Occasionally we go out to eat with friends.
I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans can’t buy any new cars, any clothes, or enjoy any meals out. Nor can I make up for the falling consumption of the vast majority of middle-class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages."

But Its not so much the fact that the wealthy can buy more, it's the fact that there are people that cannot buy these things. That fact alone instills a mindset of superiority, while the lack of money can turn into a reverence for those who are wealthy. Hanauer did well to point out the correlation between the idea of "job creator" and "the creator".  

Another important thing to mention is that money is also power. The power to buy ideas, properties, governments and even people. 

Citizens United has given billionaires something to do with their money, buy politicians. Oddly enough what the politicians plan to do is give more money to those billionaires who already have no idea what to do with their vast fortunes. While the middle class gets squeezed, and turned into the poor, the already poor suffer worse, because of the inflation from the Fed. Those former middle class can no longer buy things from companies, those companies will lose money, so they start to fire people to make ends meet, those people can no longer afford new things, and it all just continues to snowball. 

This shows that our current path is simply unsustainable. It's not good for the poor, the middle class, and for the rich. 

Cutting taxes again for the wealthy, screws the wealthy in the long run, because they will no longer get business. Of course, for the impact to occur on the wealthy, a lot of time will need to pass for those with all the money to spend it all. My guess is several generations. But can you imagine how much suffering would occur until then? 

In order to avoid that, we need a little income redistribution. Raise taxes on the wealthy and use that money to invest to create a larger middle class. Bring people up from poverty into a middle class lifestyle, and you'll see everyone doing better.

Even the rich.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why Mitt Romney wants to cut PBS to give tax cuts for the rich.

In the debates Wednesday night Mitt Romney clearly stated how much he loves big bird, and Jim Lehrer by channeling Donald Trump. 

"You're fired" would be the best way to describe Romney's plan to cut subsidies to PBS. 

Under his tax plan, Romney would cut subsidies to PBS as well other government programs. He says these programs will get cut if they don't meet the simple metric of "If it's so important that we borrow money from China to pay for it." 

Then I guess what Romney feels is so important to him that we'll to borrow money from China, is more tax cuts. 

For the rich.

His plan according to the Tax Policy Center would cut 20% of taxes across the board. But despite the claims that his cuts would be revenue neutral, the facts are, that it's just mathematically impossible. 

Mitts math teacher must be rolling in their grave. 

Also despite Romney's claims that he will not lower taxes on the wealthy, his plan would in fact to just that, reduce taxes by $251 Billion a year in households making over $200,000 a year.

Ironically that's who he thinks is the middle class.

Here's a quote from the tax policy centers study: 

"Our major conclusion is that any revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.” 

“Cutting individual income tax rates by 20 percent from today’s levels would reduce tax burdens by $251 billion per year (in 2015) among households with income above $200,000.”  “to achieve revenue neutrality, the resulting $86 billion annual shortfall must be made up by raising taxes on the rest of the population.”  

-Tax Policy Center

So he's gonna fire Big Bird, in order to give more money to the rich.

How disgusting is this guy?

Oscar already lives in a trash can, Sounds like PBS doesn't get that much as it is.

In fact, the annual subsidy is 1/100th of 1 percent of the Federal Budget, or about $1.35 a person.

Some notable stars from PBS have put out statements, such as Astronomer Neil Degrasse Tyson who tweeted: "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"

and even former Reading Rainbow host and actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Levar Burton got in the fray. In an interview with Soledad O'Brien he said in relation to Romney's proposed cuts to PBS "I took it as an attack on children, Soledad,” “It is an attack on children who come from disenfranchised, you know, background.”

I grew up with PBS, Big Bird, and Reading Rainbow. Those shows were about learning, but it seems like Romney and the Republicans are not interested in kids learning anymore, if it means not being able to give a tax cut to the already very wealthy at least.

You can even relate the attack on PBS and NPR with the attacks on science, and learning, public schools and teachers. 

I think the Republicans do not want kids to learn, knowledge is dangerous to their agenda. Critical thinking is dangerous to their agenda, scientific facts are dangerous to their agenda because their plans simply don't work. They don't work for the middle class, they don't work for the poor, and in the end they won't work out for anyone, even corporations will suffer when there are no longer enough educated people in the workforce. 

But by then it will be too late if we allow the Republicans to succeed. The war on science has to stop, the war on facts has to stop. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cenk Uygur tells Romney to attack from the left

Occasionally on Current TV's The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur, the swarthy Turk host will give some advice to Mitt Romney in a segment known as "If I was Mitt Romney."

Last night Cenk gave Romney a little bit of that advice for the upcoming debates. Instead of trying to land some terrible zingers (Obamaloney anyone?)  He should hit Obama on policy, from the left.


Actually it's sage advice, much to the chagrin of Cenk's friend and Epic Politics Man, Micheal Shure. Here's the thing, if Romney was a savvy debater, he could actually pull it off, the numbers are strangely on his side if he uses this line of attack.

But the problem with Republicans is that they still think America is a center right country. Here's a clip from Paul Ryan:

Unfortunately (for him) the facts do not back Ryan up.

These polls show that Americans are actually quite progressive in their values. Also the BS that Ryan spews about 30% of Americans not wanting the American dream is crap. We all want the American dream, but it's been taken from us by people like Paul Ryan, who have used the system themselves but seek to close the door of opportunity behind them.

But back to Cenk.

His advice was to hit Obama on the massive income inequality since the recovery. Stating facts that 93% of the gains from the "recovery" went to the top 1% under President Obamas watch. As well as how the median income for middle class households fell 8% since before the recession in 2007.

All of those facts would leave Obama between a rock and a hard place, as well the question of, if trickle down doesn't work, then why did President Obama continue the Bush Tax cuts? Some people will cite the fact that Obama did so because the Republicans were holding Unemployment benefits hostage, which was true. But I've spoken to many progressives who would rather have had investment in jobs, and not jobless benefits that eventually run out.

Cenk finally concluded that Romney will not take his advice anyway, but if he did, he could pull off a debate win.

I agree.

Romney is already known to be a serial flip-flopper on the campaign trail, so if he were to adopt progressive stances during the debates I personally wouldn't be surprised. Candidates on the right have a history of using populist rhetoric to gain votes in the general election. Remember George W. Bush calling for compassionate conservatism? Even calling for a direct stimulus to each taxpayer in the form of a check.

Paul Ryan even cast himself as the savior of Medicare while attacking President Obama for "cutting $716 Billion from the extremely popular program." The exact same amount Ryan would cut in his plan.

So while it's great advice, it's not something that Romney is actually going to do, he will keep on tacking the right until he falls off a cliff.

Oh right, he already did.

If I could quote Mr Uygur, I think he would probably say: "Of Coooouuuuuuurse!"