Friday, March 7, 2014
We're about to find out.
Sam Youngman at the Herald:
State Sen. Damon Thayer introduced a bill Thursday afternoon that would clear the way for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to seek re-election to the Senate and run for president on the same Kentucky ballot in 2016.My prediction: It'll pass the repug state senate, although the repug vote won't be unanimous (Some Kentucky repugs really hate AynRandy.) A few Senate dems will vote in favor, for the same reason that it might pass the Democratic house and Governor Beshear: Kentucky Democrats would love to see the Tribble-Toupeed One humiliate himself on the national stage while helping clear the way for President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Thayer, R-Georgetown, and other allies of Paul said the proposal would make clear that an existing state law prohibiting candidates from appearing twice on the same ballot applies only to those seeking state and local offices.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/06/3124916/thayer-files-bill-clarifying-rand.html#storylink=cpy
So, the national deficit is at its lowest point in six years - down nearly half a Billion dollars - and at the same time millions of people out of work for more than a year are living on literally nothing.
This is not a coincidence.
Because when federal budget decisions are being made by vicious morons and plutocratic cock-suckers, you get a response to economic crisis that is exactly the opposite of what is needed.
The despicable "family budget" lie promulgated by the austerity hysterics is too stupid to address - the federal government's fiscal responsibilities are nothing like a family's - but if you insist on a kindergarten-level analogy, here it is:
You're going broke because you are paying far more in rent than you can afford. But if you bought a house even with nothing down, your monthly payments would be far less than your current rent, and you'd be building up equity instead of throwing money away on rent.
But because of that rent eating up your income, you don't have the cash to buy a house outright. You have to borrow the money.
You borrowing to buy a house puts you in long-term debt, sure, but it gives you two big immediate financial boosts: your monthly housing costs drop substantially, and you now have an investment that grows in value with every mortgage payment. Borrowing money is thus the responsible thing to do.
Just as the federal government borrowing money and adding to the deficit in order to hire millions of unemployed people and pour trillions of dollars into a moribund economy is the responsible thing to do.
Lowering the deficit by cutting spending while 12 million people are out of work is not just grossly irresponsible, it is catastrophically fatal to economic growth.
And lowering the deficit by cutting spending on the very social safety net programs - unemployment insurance and food stamps - that are the only thing keeping unemployed people and their families alive is a crime against humanity.
While President Obama's new budget proposal refrains from yet more snatching the food from the mouths of poor children, the elderly and the disabled, and actually proposes increased spending on infrastructure, it falls far short of the $10 Trillion in borrowing - at current negative interest rates - needed to reverse the effects of the last six years of economic depression.
And what would we spend $10 trillion dollars on? Here's an idea:
Ryan Cooper begins his piece in the new Washington Monthly magazine with a straightforward pitch:Because what matters in an economy is that money gets spent. Who spends it and what they spend it on may matter politically, but from a purely economic perspective, spending money is what grows an economy in recession. Saving and hoarding money is what kills an economy in recession.
How would you like to get $2,000 in free money today, fresh off the government printing presses? And what if I told you it wouldn’t just be a nice windfall for you and your friends and family, but that we’d do it for all Americans on an ongoing basis, and that doing so would solve our crippling problem of mass unemployment?
(Government spending causes inflation only in expanding economies - you know, the ones with lots of jobs and very few unemployed people. Remember those?)
Right now, austerity and Wall Street worship are funneling trillions of dollars to the obscenely wealthy, who ship it to overseas tax havens where it does the American economy active harm by not being in circulation.
The just solution is to take those stolen trillions away from the obscenely wealthy and give it back to the workers from whom it was stolen.
Short of that, however, the solution is to add $10 trillion (interest-free!) to the deficit and boost the economy by giving the money to people who will spend it right away, right here at home.
As Ed Kilgore wrote:
... since the current budget is a political document more than it is a fiscal blueprint, it would be nice if the administration stopped bragging about its budget-battle defeats and just made the case for appropriately robust investments. Someday, it might help Democrats win a few more (elections.)
Because that's what privatization does. Turning public services over to private corporations always results in horrible service at ten times the price. Corporations and the super-rich rake in tax dollars and leave the public with bad service and no way to hold the privateers accountable.
Governments are in the business of providing public services to all residents. Private companies are in the business of maximizing profits - no matter how many members of the public get hurt.
There is no faster way to flush a state's economy down the toilet than to turn it over to private corporations.
Bruce Schreiner at AP:
A bill backed by influential business groups that would allow state and local governments in Kentucky to partner with private sources for projects ranging from roads and sewer lines to college dorms won approval from a House committee Thursday.If this is the kind of let-corporations-run-our-world shit the supposedly "Democratic" state house is going to approve, what the fuck does it matter if repugs take it over this fall?
The measure was touted as a way to create new financing plans to construct public projects in a time of lean government budgets. It would allow for the formation of public-private partnerships in which a private company could construct, finance or operate a public facility.
You want money for infrastructure? Tell our piece of shit U.S. Senators McConnell and Paul to approve President Obama's proposed budget - plus an extra Trillion dollars for even more infrastructure.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/06/3124524/panel-oks-allowing-public-private.html#storylink=cpy
North Dakota residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2013, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. South Dakota trailed its northern neighbor in second place, with its highest score in six years of measurement. Hawaii held the top spot for the previous four years, but fell slightly last year. West Virginia and Kentucky had the two lowest well-being scores, for the fifth year in a row.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
It's always made logical sense: paying more money to the lowest-paid workers who spend every dime they earn puts more money into the local economy, which creates jobs.
But now there's proof.
Last month, conservatives seized on a Congressional Budget Office report showing that increasing the minimum wage could result in job loss to argue that President Obama’s push to pay workers more would undermine the American economy and stifle growth. But a growing body of real world experiences is already proving the nonpartisan economists wrong.$20 per hour, right now this minute and indexed to inflation for every company that employs more than 100 people. For the rest, $10 per hour right now this minute, and $1 per hour increase every year to $20, then indexed to inflation.
As Bloomberg reports, in the 15 years since Washington state voters increased their minimum wage to a national high of $9.32, “job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate.” Payrolls at restaurants and bars, which are supposedly most vulnerable to job losses, actually expanded by 21 percent and poverty rates “trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years,” Bloomberg reports.
San Francisco experienced similar growth after increasing its minimum in 2004. A new book from three labor economists titled, “When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards,” found that in the seven years that followed, employment grew by more than 5 percent in the city, while other Bay Area counties experienced drops. Employment for restaurant workers also increased by 17.7 percent, faster than elsewhere in the Bay Area. Generally, states that increased base wages between 1987 and 2012 saw decreases in their unemployment rates 52 percent of the time.
Spends years doing research and testing on his own time and his own dime - no government contract, no venture capitalist.
Years during which he is ridiculed and shunned because of the nature of his research.
Invents a machine that creates a product that literally saves thousands of lives every year.
A machine that creates jobs in poor communities.
A machine that is affordable by poor people in those communities, because our job creator refuses to exploit it to make himself rich.
Read it, and feel your heart grow two sizes, too.
How many lives have you saved today, Jamie Fucking Dimon?
Two days after a massive snowstorm and below-zero temperatures shut the state down, thousands of Kentuckians marched on the state Capitol to commemorate the first Civil Rights March in Kentucky and vow to keep fighting.
Linda Blackford at the Herald:
A nostalgic re-enactment of a civil rights march on Frankfort that 50 years ago featured Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball star Jackie Robinson turned into a political rally on the perennial issue of voting rights.
Several thousand people of all ages marched up Capitol Avenue under cold sunny skies Wednesday morning to hear speakers urge more support for House Bill 70, which would restore voting rights to most felons who have served their time.
"I want to say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that the right to vote is a sacred right," said Rep. Jesse Crenshaw, D-Lexington, who has worked unsuccessfully on similar legislation for the past 10 years. "It is not a privilege like driving a car. It is a sacred right!"
Georgia Davis Powers, who was Kentucky's first black female state senator, spoke Wednesday 50 years after she marched in 1964 with 10,000 others on a cold, snowy day in support of civil rights legislation.
"It is a blessing for me to be able to celebrate 50 years of progress," Powers said, but "our efforts are not complete."
Powers, now 90, first started working on a public-accommodations bill in 1963. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act passed in 1966.Kentucky passed the first state civil rights law in the South, but today it is one of only two states that denies voting rights to felons who have paid their debt to society.
"But now is about House Bill 70," Powers said.
More plus pictures here.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The knowledge that she no longer has to get a prescription for emergency contraception, or explain to some tight-ass freakazoid at the pharmacy counter why she wants it.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that generic brands of emergency contraception will now be sold over the counter without age restrictions.
This is good news, as generic alternatives to Plan B One-Step are less expensive but equally effective.Then help her get a prescription to the pill, extoll the virtues of condoms, and teach her how to prevent anyone from doping her drink.
That's after you teach every young man you know that rape is a crime, lack of consent is rape and anything short of conscious, repeated, enthusiastic YES is not consent.
And it won't save either Alison Lundergan Grimes' Senate race this year or Jack Conway's gubernatorial run next year.
Brett Barrouquere at the AP:
Two of Kentucky's top Democrats split sharply Tuesday over same-sex marriage, with Gov. Steve Beshear saying outside lawyers will be hired to appeal a decision granting recognition to gay couples married in other states after the attorney general announced he would not pursue the case.
No, Brett: there is no "split" among Kentucky Democrats. This is a sacrifice fly by a lame duck governor to fool freakazoiod haters into voting for a couple of repug-lite DINOs.
The high-level intraparty divide — illustrating the rapid spread of the gay-marriage debate into America's conservative heartland — came four days after a federal judge in Louisville gave Kentucky 21 days to implement a ruling that overturned a ban on recognizing same-sex unions. Voters overwhelmingly approved the ban in 2004.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/04/3120334/ag-kentucky-wont-appeal-order.html#storylink=cpy
Long before the gubernatorial election in November 2015, and probably before the Senate election in eight months, that 55 percent opposition is going to drop into minority territory and Democratic voters are going to be holding the keys to victory.
So, Alison and Jack: Which side on you on?
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Tell me again why the obscenely wealthy should not be paying a 90 percent marginal tax rate. Or 99 percent.
The richest 1 percent of Americans have seen their average income jump more than 270 percent over the past five decades. Meanwhile, the average income of the least wealthy 90 percent of Americans grew an anemic 22 percent during that time. (Those figures are based on inflation-adjusted real dollars.)
So how much would you be earning today if the phenomenal income growth at the very top of the income scale had trickled down to most Americans? Use this calculator to find out.
In other words, if you're in the bottom 90 percent of earners, your current income would be an estimated 205 percent higher if the vast majority of incomes had kept up with the gains experienced by the superwealthy.
Monday, March 3, 2014
From Firedoglake (not the Onion):
- A woman was rejected for citizenship in the U.S. because she objected to war on moral groundsThink about that. If you object to war on moral grounds, you are not fit to be an American citizen.
No wonder non-violent peace protesters are beaten, tasered, tortured and imprisoned. They are, according to the official immigration rules of the United States government, literally anti-American.
Even if they fought, killed and were wounded in the service of their country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has long since proven himself the worst kind of Wall-Street-cocksucking DINO, using lefty positions on social issues like gay marriage to distract his stealing wealth from the working class to enrich the obscenely wealthy.
But now he's gone wholly over to the Reichwing, actually sabotaging Democratic candidates to protect his repug buddies.
I don't think I've ever seen a more perfect example of the "dysfunction" of the Democratic Party elite. It's bad enough that a leader with presidential ambitions even thinks this way. But to go so far as to publicly stab his own party in the back so that he can enact a conservative economic agenda says everything you need to know about where the center of the Democratic Party is today.This is why you don't trust "conservative" Democrats like Alison Lundergan Grimes. They will fuck you over ever single time.
Andrew Cuomo is a shoo-in to win no matter who the Republicans nominate. And he has come right out and said that he doesn't want to have to run against a real social conservative because a campaign around gay rights or abortion might make Democrats vote for other Democrats than just him. And that would mean he wouldn't have all those nice Republicans to help him cut "deals" to screw Democrats.
And there's every reason to believe that he is not the only one ...
Sunday, March 2, 2014
It drives me nuts to hear "moderate" or "liberal" xians defend hate-mongering freakazoids by saying "Oh, but that's not real christianity."
Well of course it is and of course you're defending it. You're enabling it. You're giving the motherfuckers credibility.
That's what makes "good" religious people a greater threat to civilization, democracy and secular society than "bad" religious people.
Just because these religious people aren’t mean doesn’t mean they’re more intelligent than the mean religious people. They’re still basing their conclusions on bad evidence. If anything, the fact that two groups can draw two totally different conclusions about how to behave from the same source and that each if those conclusions just happens to reflect the morality those groups held anyway, shows the source is little more than a screen for people to project their ideals upon.
Enough fucking around. Time to knock the motherfuckers down and keep them down.
Kathleen Geier explains that all the minimum-wage hikes in the world won't solve the fundamental cause of income inequality: the obscenely rich have all the money.
What then must we do? The answer is clear. Rather than letting the market work its magic, as Yglesias would have it; or addressing inequality solely through “bottom up” policies, the way San Francisco has been doing, the city — and America — has to start looking at inequality from a different angle: from the top down. The hammer needs to come down on the corporations and the one percenters, hard. We need to crack down on their rent-seeking activities, eliminate the special protections they enjoy via unreasonable patent and intellectual property protections, wipe out their undeserved public subsidies and unfair tax breaks, dramatically increase marginal tax rates, and institute a tax on all forms of wealth. These people have too much money, which gives them too much power, and it is poisoning our society and our political process. The bulk of their money needs to be taken away from them, for the sake of the public good.She concludes:
.... enacting such dramatic changes will not be easy. But just because these reforms are not politically feasible right this minute doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about them. That’s the first step. Progressives should start pressing for these changes right now. You never know when opportunity might come knocking and we might stand a fair chance of enacting them.
That why secular victories never defeat the freakazoids; they just get more rabid and dangerous. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
I don’t subscribe to HBO, so I missed the new documentary on creationism, Questioning Darwin. I did manage to catch a few clips, like this one from Gawker. Hear creationists say what they really think!
Amanda Marcotte has a sound take on their position. It’s not stupidity driving these weird excuses, it’s fear.
By going back and forth between creationists and Darwin’s life story, the documentary crafts a compelling image of the conflict between two world views: That of curiosity and that of incuriosity/fear. I agree with the New York Times reviewer that the creationists are presented non-judgementally, but as these clips amassed by Gawker make clear, the creationists do all the work for you anyway. There’s a pastor explaining he would have to accept it if the Bible said “2+2=5″ and people talking, over and over again, about the strategies they have to employ to shut down their minds in the event that they’re presented with an opportunity to think more broadly. The major emotion that comes off them in waves is that of fear: Fear of asking questions, fear of the “world” (which is always talked about negatively), fear of difference, fear that thinking might lead them into dark places, fear that they really aren’t special that manifests in making up a God who loves you so you never have to go a moment without that feeling, fear that they will fall into the abyss without blind obedience to authority, and, of course, fear of death.Exactly. These people are not incapable of understanding evolution; they are instead practicing motivated reasoning, and are being entirely rational in fleeing into irrationality, because they don’t know how to cope without their beloved myths and fantasy stories.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
- In Columbia, South Carolina, a 70 year-old man was stopped by a police officer for an expired license tag. When the man tried to get his cane as he got out of the vehicle, the officer thought it was a rifle (cause they totally look alike!) and shot the man to death. The officer is now under investigation.South Carolina? My prediction: If the old man was white - unlikely, since he was stopped by a cop - the officer gets fired, but snapped up by some other militaristic hellhole, probably in Texas, and trained on how to target minorities. If the old man was non-white, the officer gets 3 days suspended without pay, which will be quietly restored later.
David Atkins at Hullabaloo:
Another day, another tax evasion story in the annals of our patriotic job creators:Confiscate every fucking penny and prosecute them for economic treason.
Senate subcommittee investigation accused Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse of using elaborate “cloak-and-dagger” methods to hide the accounts of 22,000 wealthy American citizens with a total of up to $12 billion in assets from U.S. authorities so they could avoid paying taxes.The bipartisan probe also sharply criticized the Justice Department for being lax in using subpoenas and other legal tools to pressure the bank to reveal most of the names of account holders, which have been withheld as part of a long Swiss tradition of bank secrecy.“The key to piercing the cocoon of bank secrecy and collecting the taxes owed by tax evaders is getting the names on those accounts,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.“Yet after years of investigations, negotiations and jawboning, the United States has names for just 238 of those 22,000 Credit Suisse customers,” he said Tuesday in unveiling a 175-page report on the bank’s practices.It's not just important that we get the rest of the names.
It's also important that these 22,000 people not get a slap on the wrist or a fine they'll barely notice. Real jail time would be a good start.
But infrastructure, Mr. President, is something only government can build. Confiscate the trillions the parasitic rich have stolen and use it to hire 10 million unemployed Americans to rebuild the country that 30 years of conservatard anti-governance destroyed.
Full transcript here.
This is Just. Fucking. Perfect.
From the Courier:
Did you catch that? It's not even "repent and get a gun." It's repent and get a chance to get a gun.In an effort its spokesman has described as "outreach to rednecks," the Kentucky Baptist Convention is leading "Second Amendment Celebrations," where churches around the state give away guns as door prizes to lure in non-believers in hopes of converting them to Christ.
Really, when it comes to conning the rubes, Wall Street has nothing on the freakazoids.
Steve M. makes an excellent point about the conservative veneration of "free labor"
Teabaggers and other Rand-addled idiots seriously believe that, in the absence of liberal government intervention, all American workers would have absolute "control over their labor." I suspect they believe that in the reddest of states, workers actually do have full "control over their labor."
Do these folks know anyone who actually works for a living?
America is full of low-wage workers who never know from one week to the next how many hours they're going to work or to which shifts they're going to be assigned; employers don't care if employees can't arrange child care because of a sudden change of shift or can't get by on suddenly reduced hours -- those are the conditions of the job, take 'em or leave 'em.
Controlling one's own labor? That's a fairy tale for most workers. But for the deluded Randians, it's reality -- they don't even acknowledge that the huge power inequity between employers and employees, so they advance the ludicrous notion that we're equal partners in contracts freely entered into.To answer Steve's question, No, they don't know anyone who actually works for a living. Or rather, those who actually work for a living don't register with them as "people."
Wage slaves - whether blue- or white-collar - are just exactly that to conservatives: slaves. Sub-human and unworthy of consideration. Only
At the repug congressional retreat a few weeks ago, Eric Cantor tried to introduce his colleagues to the idea that the vast majority of Americans - even the vast majority of repugs - don't own their own businesses, but work for paychecks. Nobody believed him.
Repug rhetoric, policy and politics make much more sense when you realize that when they say "workers," they're talking about management, not labor.
The bosses. Not you.