Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time

If you don't get this, stop reading this blog immediately.

ummagumma.co:


(Source: londons365)

The Real Reason for Killer Austerity

If you're unemployed, or making below-poverty wages, or working three jobs to keep food on the table, or unable to get medical care because your repug state rejects Medicaid expansion, the last thing on your priority list is voting.

And that's the real reason repugs slash taxes on the rich and services to people like you - so you'll be too financially pressured to even think about voting out of office the motherfuckers making it impossible for you to vote.

Firedoglake:

- In what shows the consequences of an oppressive capitalist system, new research found people who are stressed out do not vote
It magnifies the existing discouragement among Democratic voters caused by repugs running for Congress with Ds next to their names.

Down with Tyranny:
It's all about discouraging grassroots Democrats to even bother turning out. That's how the DCCC lost the House majority and along with a net of 63 seats.

According to FairVote.org low voter turnout "is usually attributed to political disengagement and the belief that voting for one candidate/party or another will do little to alter public policy." Leaders like Hoyer, Israel and Wasserman Schultz consistently have done just that by blurring the distinctions between a working class party and the party of Big Business. Most developed democracies boast turnout rates both of 70% while the U.S. is lucky to average 60% during presidential elections and 40% for midterms.

Steve Israel warns his motley array of wretched conservative recruits to not talk about controversial issues. It's his losing "mystery meat" strategy. In 2012, while Israel was failing to win back the House, Elizabeth Warren ousted GOP incumbent Scott Brown, Wall Street's favorite-- and most heavily rewarded-- politician. She didn't do that with a mystery strategy or by laying low and not speaking her mind. And you know what happened? Well you know she won, of course-- and that she won big, 1,696,346 (54%) to 1,458,048 (46%). But what may have slipped by you is that it was the biggest election turnout in the history of Massachusetts, 73%. That's what happens when you give voters a real choice. Democrats and independents flocked to the polls in record numbers to defeat a likable "moderate" Republican with the most outspokenly progressive Democrat anywhere in the country. And while Big Business in general and Wall Street in particular led the way in showering Scott Brown with an unprecedented $28,159,602 for his reelection bid, ordinary Americans chipped in $42,506,349. Her average contribution was less than $50.
I occasionally get chaffed by folks for giving out civics lessons but, seriously, we get the government we deserve. The Founders, and those brave people who came later, a group that certainly includes the three Mississippi martyrs and thousands more whose names we don't know, made sacrifices that leave us no alibis. If you live in a state that has restricted the franchise, and that has erected hoops through which you have to jump, then learn how to jump through the hoops and break down those barriers by flooding the polls. If you don't live in a state where it has been made more difficult to vote, then get off your sorry ass.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Secularism Wrought

Divine Irony:

atheistjack:

via The Atheist Truth
Christian Abuse of Children

Somebody Tell Alison: Here Is Your Winning 2014 Platform

Forget 2016, and forget Wall Street's Darling Hillary.  Here is the platform that all Democratic candidates from city council to U.S. Senate need to be screaming from the rooftops all day every day until November:

1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth. And we will fight for it.”

3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality. And we will fight for it.”

4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty. That means raising the minimum wage. And we will fight for it. We will fight for it. And let me add to that: We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

5. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt. And we are willing to fight for it. We are willing.”

6. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions. And we will fight for them. We will fight.”

7. “We believe— only I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work. And we’re willing to fight for it.

8. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America. And we’re willing to fight for it.”

9. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform. And we are willing to fight for it.”

10. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.
If Democratic candidates embrace that platform right now, today, and run on it nonstop through election day this November, we won't need Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016, because we will have already taken the country back.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get-Out-of-Responsibility-Forever-Free Card

Divine Irony:

godlessmen:

How did you get into heaven?
Source: Source and comments

godlessmen:
How did you get into heaven?
Source: Source and comments
The born-again freakazoids are even worse: you don't have to repent at all before you die.  Once you're "saved," even if you're only 10 years old at the time, you're saved forever.  No amount of sin, crime, or cannibalism can keep you out of "heaven."

Fortunately, there is no heaven, and Dahmer is just as dead as his victims. 

In My Name

Divine Irony:





The Federal Government Mandate the Freakazoids Love

It's the only one they really want: forcing everybody to obey christian sharia law in all things.

Digby:

Hobby Lobby's owner Steve Green believes it's a constraint on their religious liberty and the 1st Amendment for the government to mandate they pay for insurance that covers contraception. But never let it be said that they are against government mandates on principle. Or even religious mandates:

SNIP

When I was in high school I took a course called "comparative world religions" which, needless to say, discussed the Bible since it is the basis for three of them. It's "history" "story" and "impact" were a huge part of he course as I recall and I think we all came away understanding how important the Bible has been in the development of Western Civilization. They didn't teach us that what was in the Bible was revealed truth or that its stories were to be taken literally or that we would all go to hell if we didn't believe in it. And that is undoubtedly what this fellow really wants the public schools to be teaching children.

This Is What a Continuing War Crime Looks Like

It looks like this.

I cut no slack for Palestinians.  I am as anti-Palestinian as you are going to find among American liberals.

But this is not the Israel I grew up admiring.

This is not the Israel of the '70s Peace Movement.

This is not the Israel of the Camp David Accords.

This is not the Israel of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. Fuck, this is not even the Israel of that old terrorist Menachem Begin.

I do not believe what I am reading. I know it is true, but I don't believe it.

It fucking breaks my heart.

More than Vladimir Putin (and don't think that Israel's ground invasion of Gaza beginning right after Putin's Ukrainian allies shot down a passenger jet is a coincidence), more than Darth Cheney and the U.S. warmongers, more than every terrorist on the planet put together, the greatest threat to peace today is the country that was - for a moment, long ago - a beacon of civilization in a barbarous world:

Israel.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Defensive Atheism

Divine Irony:

teachthemhowtothink:

Originally found on Hemant Mehta’s fb page (here).

"Every worker deserves to know that if you lose your job, your country will help you train for an even better one."

No, Mr. President, the problem is not worker skills; the problem is American companies shipping jobs overseas without consequences, and refusing to pay skilled workers what they are worth. Oh, and congressional repugs refusing to spend the trillions of dollars necessary to repair and rebuild national infrastructure



Full transcript here.

Privatizing Public Space

Of all capitalism's horrific crimes against humanity, the worst may be destroying the very idea of public space that no individual or corporation can deny to other people.

David Atkins at Political Animal:

On one hand this seems like a cross-section of American entrepreneurialism combined with high-tech democratization similar to using Uber or Lyft for transportation, or buying a hot restaurant reservation via smartphone app.  
But on the other hand it’s a very personal and physical representation of a disturbing trend toward the privatization of public space. There’s something fundamental about using a public space for free or low cost as long as you need it, then ceding it to the first comer for their own use. That’s the principle of the commons. What happens when you allow people to start becoming mini-grifters, overstaying in public spaces in order to make a quick buck off the next person who can afford to pay their price for public space at the expense of those who cannot?

What happens when those people then hire other people to sit in public spaces and sell them? That’s almost a textbook case of tragedy of the commons combined with rent-seeking abuse by unscrupulous hucksters.

As of now San Francisco is stopping the practice, which is sure to cause howls of protest from libertarian types. But what other choice is there? And isn’t this the perfect encapsulation of why regulation is needed if the public spaces, parking and otherwise, are going to survive?

Friday, July 18, 2014

When Fighting for Workers' Rights Meant Being Executed for a Crime You Didn't Commit

100 years ago today, Utah murdered IWW activist Joe Hill.


QOTD

President Barack Obama:

Let me close by making one additional comment. On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV. These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.   
In this world today we shouldn’t forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these, people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed, people who are focused on how they can help people that they’ve never met, people that define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common. It’s important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives. And it’s time for us to heed their example.  
 The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, that nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth.
Via Wonkette.

Hypatia

Divine Irony:

atheismforthewin:

http://memes-of-reason.tumblr.com/

Why Kentucky Can Never Have Nice Things

Because executives of companies looking to invest in Kentucky read the "Look What the Hillbillies Are Doing Now" section of the New York Times and see shit like this:

John Cheves and Bill Estep at the Herald:

Wayne County Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge started a two-month sexual relationship with and impregnated a Wayne County woman whom he prosecuted for felony drug trafficking and who remains on probation through 2016, according to allegations raised in two court cases. According to the allegations, the affair began in January.
A reminder: when one person has economic, legal or social power over another person, any sexual relationship between them is ipso facto harassment and abuse, regardless of ostensible "consent."

Ten bucks says that motherfucker Leveridge claims the defendant "seduced" him.

Want Kentucky to be a Repug Hellhole Like North Carolina? Don't Vote in November

Think Alison Lundergan Grimes is a liberal-hating DINO? Fine, so do I.  But I'm going to climb into a Level-5 Hazmat suit anyway and vote for her and every other Democratic candidate in November if only for this reason:

If Kentucky Democrats don't vote, the repugs will take over the state House, and after Jamie Comer becomes Governor next year, the Bluegrass State will be the next feudal Koch-ocracy to strip income and rights away from everyone not already rich.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Two national groups dedicated to electing Republican state legislators have their sights set on the Kentucky House.

The GOP has a great shot to take control of the Kentucky House for the first time since 1921, officials with the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee said Thursday in a telephone conference call from their national meeting in Colorado.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith said Kentucky is one of the "Sweet 16" targets the RLCC has identified as opportunities to flip legislative control. Republicans now control 60 of 99 legislative chambers in the country.

Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, declined to say how much money the groups plan to pour into Kentucky this fall or what big-name national Republicans may be in the state for fundraisers.

He did say Kentucky "will be on the receiving end of revenue."

The RLCC has spent more than $1 million on legislative races in Kentucky since 2008. It spent more than $400,000 in Kentucky during the 2010 election cycle and more than $355,000 in 2012. The group spent more than $200,000 in Kentucky last year and expects to top its previous spending record this year.
And it's not just state legislators that matter.

In California the Democratic Party took control of the statehouse with 2/3 supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate in 2012, as well as every state constitutional office. In one fell swoop, years of poor economic and budget news turned almost instantly rosy as Democrats came together to pass competent budgets and fund needed priorities. By discarding Republican obstruction Democrats were able to turn California from a national laughingstock into a nearly overnight success story.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s success in marijuana legalization is serving as a model for states across the nation to question their own laws on the topic.

As long as current Congressional district boundaries remain in place, the House is going to be a difficult place to get anything done. The Senate may well bounce back and forth between the 2014 and 2016 elections, possibly even 2018 as well. Legislative gridlock seems a near certainty until at least 2020 if not 2022 when the new census establishes new partisan district lines.

Democrats and their donors would be well advised to shift a substantial amount of their focus to winning statehouse battles, helping people in the states where it’s possible to help, and proving the worth of progressive policies to serve as an example for voters in the battlegrounds.
As the late Molly Ivins of blessed memory often wrote:  Vote!  It will clear up your complexion, help you lose weight, and improve your sex life.

Repugs Don't Want to Govern; They Just Want to Rule

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

It's just another reminder that Republicans aren't really "conservative" anymore. These are radical economic libertarian ideologues as wild-eyed and unrealistic about human nature and economics as any Bolshevik. What they want is a society that has never existed before in modern history, testing an already-discredited economic theory that has never been pursued to its full extent because it's too demonstrably crazy, with social order enforced by a code of morality and institutional hierarchy most voters have already rejected.

That's why American politics is so impossible right now. These are not traditional disagreements over this program or that, or the size and scope of this effort or that one. Modern Republicans aren't conservatives so much as revolutionary revanchists, seeking to "take back their country" by creating a libertarian economic utopia such as has never existed (nor, due to its internal unworkability, will it ever exist) in the world. The left can point to other countries that work reasonably well along the lines we would prefer: we can point to Canada, Germany, Sweden and many other countries besides whose solutions to vexing American policy problems have worked out substantially well for them. Republicans cannot point to similar examples because they do not exist.

That can be an admirable thing if you're trying to found the world's first modern democracy. It's not so admirable if you're trying to found the world's first libertarian plutocracy. But either way, it's not conservative. And the left can't just come to "bipartisan agreement" with that sort of thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Not Wanting to Know

ummagumma.co:

Self-Hating Useful Idiots

Seriously, anyone non-white, non-male, non-Xian, non-straight and/or non-rich who votes repug is too suicidally self-hating to be allowed to vote

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

Oy. How much self-loathing do you need to have, and how driven by greed or fundamentalism do you have to be, to be a female Republican?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

QOTD

Juanita Jean:

So, yeah, this is not about the rule of law.  And its only about children because it’s easier to scare children.  This is a hate contest.  This is Republican politicians measuring their winkies by the level of hate they can spew.
 

Torn

ummagumma.co:

KY Set to Pay Disgusting Maggot-Serving Company to Feed Kentucky Kids

Funny how every time Aramark manages to bribe persuade its critics to praise it, we hear yet another vomit-inducing story of how the company actually uses the tax dollars it does not use to properly feed people.
 
Yes, of course you are going to be paying Aramark to pretend to feed Kentucky children in juvenile detention, even though Aramark has just been caught - again - feeding shit to human beings.
 
Are you guys super into privatization, that cool thing where we take away duties from the mean rotten government and give them to cool companies that will magically, simply by being private companies, make everything better? It’s the best, right? Just look how awesome it has worked out in Michigan’s prison system, where Aramark, the private contractor that now gets oodles of money to feed Michigan’s prisoners, has brought super great benefits like maggots in the meals, food shortages, and really sketchy employees.
 
Seven months ago, Michigan switched the prison food service contract from state workers to Aramark in a move that was theoretically supposed to save the state a cool $12 million. They don’t seem to have considered the possibility that the savings was going to come from entrepreneurial innovations like not actually feeding the prisoners.
Prison officials confirm at least two instances of meal shortages have been reported this month. [...] When menu items run out, Aramark substitutes, in one case using hot dog buns to make pizza. Another time, “instead of getting juice for breakfast this morning, everyone got 2 Minute Maid popsicles.”
Now, you may be thinking that doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but then you should remember food shortages IN PRISON are probably a different level of problem and danger than when your office cafeteria runs out of those little pudding parfait things you like so much. Also too, did we mention the maggots? Maggots. And rotting meat that may or may not have yet hit the maggot stage, so what the hell, serve that shit. Aramark is pretty sure it is just a conspiracy against them though.
While many view the discovery of live maggots in Michigan prisons — quickly followed by similar reports from Ohio, where Aramark took over prison food services in September — as an indictment of Aramark, the company finds the events suspicious. “Aramark has served billions of meals, to millions of inmates, at hundreds of correctional facilities around the country and never encountered sudden incidences like those reported in two states in the span of one week,” company spokeswoman Karen Cutler said. “Each corrections system is operated independently and the only common denominator is that both of them recently privatized their food services in a decision that has drawn criticism from some special-interest groups.”
Um, no, spokeslady. The other common denominator is YOUR SHITTY COMPANY RUNS BOTH SYSTEMS NOW. Besides bringing terrible food or a terrible lack of food to Michigan’s prisoners, Aramark also employed some really swell employees.
74 of the roughly 300 Aramark employees who are supposed to work on the contract have been banned from Michigan prison facilities for violations including showing up drunk to work, having sexual contact with inmates, and attempting to smuggle drugs into the prisons.
So, basically one-quarter of the people that Aramark hired are too terrible SERVE FOOD IN PRISON, which is not, let’s admit, the sexiest most fun time sought after job. Congrats, Aramark. You are pretty much the literal worst.
Think that now, surely, Kentucky will throw Aramark'as bid out and bar its employees from ever setting foot in the Commonwealth again ?  HA! Kentucky officials have known about Aramark for years and just don't give a flying fuck.

Adam Beam at AP, on July 4:
The $12 million contract to feed Kentucky's 21,200 prison inmates is up for bid for the first time since a 2010 audit found significant problems with the state's current contractor.

But some of Kentucky's biggest critics of Philadelphia-based Aramark now say they are satisfied with the company's response to the criticism.

Aramark has held the contract since 2005 when Kentucky first privatized inmate meals. At the time, it cost the state $3.49 per meal. Aramark provided the meals for $2.34 each. The difference has saved Kentucky taxpayers about $51 million over the 10-year contract.

But lawmakers started asking questions about the food service after a 2009 riot at the medium-security Northpoint Training Facility when inmates started a fire that injured several inmates and officers. An official Department of Corrections investigation concluded the food was not the primary cause for the riot. But it prompted lawmakers to ask then state Auditor Crit Luallen to investigate the state's contract with Aramark.

In 2010, the auditor's office found billing errors of more than $36,000 that benefited Aramark. The audit also could not confirm that Aramark used proper ingredients or followed food safety standards.