Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cop Tasers Child To Make a Point

Go ahead. Explain to me how that child deserves that.  Then explain to me why that motherfucking piece of shit cop is not in prison.
It's not like 50,000 volts ever hurt anyone:
"According to the complaint, [New Mexico police officer Chris] Webb shot his Taser at the child after he said he did not want to join fellow classmates in cleaning the officer's patrol car. Courthouse News reported: Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, 'Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.' ... [H]e sent 50,000 volts of electricity into the child's chest on the playground. The young boy blacked out and has, according to his legal representative, been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder ever since."
That police officer was only telling the truth. This is what happens to people who don't "listen to the police." Even if they are having epileptic fits, are mentally ill, drunk, on drugs or are otherwise unable to comply.

Also too, if they are asserting their rights under the constitution.

If we train our kids to understand that they must automatically drop their eyes, shut their mouths and comply instantly with anything the government authorities demand, we will have a much more docile and cooperative population. And what better way to train them than an electric prod? It's certain that this little fellow won't soon forget his lesson.

"While You Laughed ..."

Under the Mountain Bunker:

Robert Reich: If You Succumb to Cynicism, The Regressives Win it All: This is for those of you who consider yourself to be progressive but have given up on politics because it seems rotten to the core. You may prefer Obama to Romney but don’t think there’s a huge difference between the two, so you may not even vote. Your cynicism is understandable. But cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you succumb to it, the regressives who want to take this nation back to the 19th century win it all. The Koch brothers, Karl Rove, the rabid Republican right, CEOs and Wall Street titans who want to entrench their privileges and tax advantages – all of them would like nothing better than for every progressive in America to throw in the towel. Then America is entirely theirs…

truth-has-a-liberal-biasThere are more Democrats, Greens, Progressives, Liberals, Independents and Moderates, than there are Tea Party Republicans.

We just have to make sure we vote!
Voting yourself is not enough. You have to make sure every Democratic voter you know also votes. Don't let them sit at home again.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Hold the Fort"

Uploaded by theflood79 on Feb 24, 2011

Billy Bragg's version of the old Wobbly song. Apologies for the inappropriate Union MEN line.

Repug Andy Barr Apparently Not a Moron

At least to the extent he knows when to keep his racist, misogynistic, homophobic mouth shut.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Republican Andy Barr pledged Tuesday to sponsor a constitutional amendment every year he is in Congress to limit terms of its members and remained mum on whether he believes there are any circumstances when abortion should be legal.
While Barr remained silent on possible exceptions for abortion, Margie Montgomery, the executive director of the Kentucky Right to Life, declined to say Tuesday if its national organization asked Barr about possible exceptions to abortion before endorsing him.
"The Kentucky Right to Life Association PAC is satisfied with Mr. Barr's commitment to protecting unborn children and their mothers from the abortion-on-demand license of Roe v. Wade," Montgomery said in an email, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision that disallowed many state and federal restrictions on abortion.
"We won't participate in any media-manufactured outrage about the deeply held pro-life views of Andy Barr, especially in light of the extreme abortion-on-demand position of his opponent, Congressman Ben Chandler," Montgomery wrote.
Margie? Honey? "Abortion only in cases of rape and imminent death of the woman," which is Cowardly Worm Chandler's position, is not abortion on demand.

Abortion on demand is any woman, any time, any place, under any circumstances, no-questions-asked, free-of-charge, nobody's-fucking-business, available-on-every-street-corner ABORTIONPLEX.

Anything short of THAT is an unconstitutional, anti-woman, anti-science, violation of human rights.
ead more here:

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Atkins Stays On Offense With New Ad

From Bill Atkins' campaign:

Congressman Geoff Davis on Tom Massie: 

"What was done, using my name in vain, was inappropriate. I think it shows immaturity... it spoke for itself in terms of the lack of character to do something like that.

"There was a voice mail message left for me, and in there were the words 'I'm not asking for permission.'

"I think it's more a statement of what kind of a Member of Congress the person would be."


"What's your expectation for what kind of Congressman Thomas Massie would be?"

Congressman Geoff Davis:

"Past is prelude in terms of behavior. I think that you can just examine his record and his biography in the campaign that he ran and draw your own conclusions." 

 Watch this video and more at

How to Stop Repugs From Voting

I've been trying to think of some kind of voter ID law that would catch mostly repugs. Juanita Jean found it:
Thank you, Memphis!
The Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld the state’s new law requiring voters to show photo identification at polling places and ruled that election officials must accept an ID issued by the Memphis library.
A three-judge panel of the court ruled unanimously Thursday in a case brought by the city of Memphis and two voters who lacked photo ID and cast provisional ballots during the August primary.
Okay, so if we required (instead of just allowed) a library card for voter identification, there would be no Republican voters.  Why, you ask?

First, no self respecting Republican would enter the confines of a PUBLIC library.  I mean, ruffians who cause tumult can go there.  Anyone can go there.  Yuck.
Second, if they read a book or two, they would not be Republicans.

I say, make a library card be required to vote.  Nice start, Tennessee!

That’s what I say.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "On the Picket Line"

Uploaded by tylershipley on Feb 9, 2010

The Integrity of A Real Democrat

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Your Vote for Obama Counts - Even in Red States

Because if the national popular vote goes to Romney, repugs will use that to deny President Obama's electoral vote victory. Even if they fail to throw the election to Romney - having 2000 flashbacks yet? - they will use the popular vote to attack and impeach President Obama for his entire second term.

Yes, even an Obama landslide won't stop the repugs from obstructing everything the President tries to do, but a close election will make it exponentially worse.


It will be very interesting to see what the legal moves will be if any of these swing states are very close. But it almost doesn't matter. If Obama wins with anything other than a decisive victory in both the popular vote and the electoral college, we will see a collective right wing primal scream. They don't think he's legitimate in the first place, but to eke out a close victory when they already believe that many of "those people" are voting illegally is likely to provoke an emotional response.

This is why I very much doubt that we are going to see a chastened and reasonable GOP in the next congress. Their base is going to be wild with the belief that the election was stolen from them.
Steve M:
Yes, it's true that the Electoral College is ridiculous. But it's also true that both campaigns have been trying to win 270 electoral votes, not 50% of the popular vote plus 1 -- and Mitt Romney is on the verge of losing that contest. If this were a popular vote race, the candidates wouldn't be practically living in Ohio and other swing states -- Mitt Romney would have taken up residency in Texas, or somewhere else in the Deep South, and he'd be trying to run up the score there, while the president would be spending so much time here in the Northeast that they'd assign him his own traffic lane in Midtown Manhattan.

But this is why it's going to be a problem if Obama loses the popular vote. The "hypocrite Democrats" message is going to be the polite edge of the Republican election-stealing wedge, while nastier right-wing operatives burrow into whether some poor Democratic elector in Ohio or Wisconsin ever had a tax lien or missed a mortgage payment or drove drunk. Maybe the GOP won't be able to steal the election, but it won't be for lack of trying.

So let's hope Kos is right when he says registered-voter polls are more accurate than likely voter polls. Let's hope RAND and TIPP are right and Gallup is wrong. Let's hope Obama's get-out-the-vote operation is as amazing as it claims to be. Because it's going to get ugly otherwise. 
Vote. Vote Early. Vote Early for President Obama.

And make sure every Democratic voter you know does the same.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By - "All Used Up"

Uploaded by rocinante2011, who kindly includes the lyrics at the link.

IWW Songs to fan the flames of discontent.

Kids in Solitary

Next time you hear some politician babbling on about "protecting the children," ask her what she is doing to stop American prison officials from torturing children with solitary confinement.

Christie Thompson at The Nation:

PUNISHING KIDS: “Jordan E” was 15 when he was sent to an adult prison in Colorado. Over three years, he would spend a cumulative 365 days alone in a tiny cell, for offenses as small as not making his bed.
Jordan’s is one of 127 testimonials published by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch in a new report, “Growing Up Locked Down,” which sheds light on the use of solitary confinement on juvenile prisoners. “It’s not surprising that this practice has increased, [as] youth in adult facilities have increased,” says author Ian Kysel. Though in theory kids are sometimes segregated for their own protection, in reality it’s harshly punitive. In 2009, the Justice Department found that 62 percent of youths who committed suicide in detention had experienced some kind of enforced isolation.

Despite research showing the trauma of long-term isolation, nearly one in six youths reported being in solitary for more than two months. As one described it, “The only thing left to do is go crazy…. Sometimes I feel like, why am I even living?” To read the report, visit  
This is how you create new generations of hardened criminals impervious to rehabilitation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

To Protect and to Serve

In case you were still under the impression that our militarized local police forces work for the taxpayers instead of criminal corporations and parasite billionaires, here's an illustration of how law enforcement abuses helpless citizens at the behest of the rich.

Diane Sweet at Crooks and Liars:

This may well be a new low for a bank. On the morning of October 10, 2012, Niko Black was in bed when her front door was kicked open by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Black, who has terminal cancer, crawled to her wheelchair as four-to-six deputies entered and proceeded to hold a gun to her face. She was then taken outside without any of her medication. When she called the Garden Grove Police, they did nothing. Since all of her medication and other means of treatment were in her home, Black began to have difficulty breathing, and very quickly and had to be taken to the hospital.
The 37-year-old Mescalero Apache woman, who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of cancer, refused to open the door, saying that they had no legal right to be there. On the other side was a taped copy of a court order obtained from Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodore C. Albert in late August that she firmly believes should have prevented the OCSD from carrying out the eviction. The deputies acted anyway.
"They break down my door," Black recounts. "I'm sitting there in my wheel chair. I'm about 100 pounds of shriveled-up cancer and a threat to no one."
What came next, she says, was much more harrowing. "Sergeant Bob Sima puts a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me," Black states, pausing to emotionally gather herself. "There's no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head."
With neighbors lining up outside watching, Black's health began to worsen. "I needed my medication, I couldn't breathe and I was having a seizure," she said, claiming that deputies were unresponsive to concerns about her condition; one officer even remarked that she 'looked good' to him. An ambulance finally arrived at her friend's behest and she was forcibly removed from her home and hospitalized.
If this situation weren't complicated enough, according to an online petition circulating in support of Black, she never even had a mortgage with Wells Fargo!

Since the eviction, Federal Judge Theodore C. Albert (who signed the court order favoring Black) has ordered Wells Fargo and county representatives to appear in court on November 13 to explain the eviction.
 No need to privatize public safety: the rich already own it.

We Don't Need Shared Sacrifice: We Can Have Prosperity Economics

First on the agenda November 7 is the Grand Bargain: gutting Social Security and Medicare in return for pocket change from billionaires.
It's going to be sold as the "only solution" because we have "no choice."

Bullshit. Even if the deficit were a problem - which it isn't - there's a better way than austerity: prosperity.
This week, though I want to share the latest newsletter. Digby wrote it for us and my favorite line is the subject of this post: "The Grand Bargain isn't shared sacrifice, it's human sacrifice."
Last week we alerted you to professor Jacob Hacker's manifesto called Prosperity Economics and asked you to take a look at what could be the blueprint for a progressive approach to our nation's economic problems. We believe this is a plan that can restore growth, reverse inequality and revitalize our democracy. It will even cut the deficit without resorting to slashing vital government services and the already frayed and weakened social insurance programs.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the plan of many of the leadership of the Democratic Party which remains focused on Grand Bargains, "balanced approaches" and Simpson-Bowles, all of which are basically conservative con games devised to slash government at the worst possible time. The Democrats have inexplicably defined victory in these negotiations not as the preservation of vital government programs but winning a nominal tax hike for the wealthiest Americans in exchange for their cooperation in cutting the safety net. Unfortunately for the American people, the Republicans seem to be seeing their winning hand: GOP moneybags David Koch revealed this week that he would be in favor of the tax increases. If his congressional minions follow suit,  the Democrats may get their "victory." Unfortunately, the people will lose, and lose big.

This is why we must have a progressive bloc in Congress that is willing to stand up to both parties in cases like this and be the bulwark against a raid on important government services in the name of austerity. This is why we need our Blue America candidates to be elected this November.

Just as we asked you to look at Prosperity Economics, we asked them too. And the response was remarkable. We asked our candidates to look at them too. You can read them all at this page.

Alan Grayson  had this to say:
"This coming election is too important to be about nothing. And that is why Jacob Hacker and Nate Loewentheil's 'Prosperity Economics' platform is important-- it's not nothing, it's something. Something big. For a Democratic victory to be meaningful, for it to create a 'mandate,' we owe it to America to explain what we would do with that victory. We need to make some promises, and then do our darnedest to try to keep them. 'Prosperity Economics' is a coherent, comprehensive plan that offers the hope-- the essential hope-- of leading us out of the wilderness."
This is where the Democrats should be planting their flag. Agreeing to cut vital government programs including Social Security and Medicare in order to obtain some tip money from millionaires isn't "shared sacrifice"-- it's human sacrifice. Up until now the Tea Partiers in Congress have refused to take yes for an answer. But if David Koch is now willing to accept some token tax hikes you can be sure the Republicans are waking up to how foolish that stance is.

No matter who wins the presidency and the majority after November's election, the nation will be facing the GOP's well-laid trap of the so-called "fiscal cliff." And unless there is a bloc of Democrats willing to demand Prosperity instead of Austerity there is a very good chance we will be thrown into another recession, just as our British friends across the pond faced when their government chose the slash government  in the midst of an epic slump. And even if we manage to dodge that bullet, we will have more slow growth, rising inequality and the further degradation of our vital social safety net. It is the wrong prescription for the Democratic Party and the people of this country.

You can help by helping elect these progressive House candidates who will come to congress with Prosperity Economics as their mandate. We urge you to read their comments at Blue America's Americans for REAL Prosperity page and give what you can. We simply must make our voices heard in Washington on this important issue. 
For more than thirty years, the austerity hysterics in both parties have been pushing the Big Lie that we can't afford the soak-the-rich, spend-billions-on-infrastructure economy that grew the middle class and nearly eliminated poverty.

In fact, what we can't afford is the impoverish-the-middle-class, kill-the-poor austerity economy that is destroying Europe.

Eliminate billionaires by taxing them out of existence with Eisenhower-era rates, and pour the revenues into creating 10 million jobs to rebuild the nation.

Simple. Obvious. Prosperity Economics.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Defense Factory Blues"

Uploaded by cdbpdx on Jun 5, 2010

Camel's Nose of Charter Schools Now Under Kentucky's Tent

And the whole vicious, ugly monster will be inside wreaking havoc before you know it if we don't stomp that sucker down hard right now.

Chris Kenning at the Courier:

The program was created earlier this year under House Bill 37, modeled in part on components of charter laws in other states.

But Kentucky charter school proponents — who for years have pushed unsuccessfully for a law legalizing charter schools — say it’s not a meaningful substitute. And they say it won’t keep them from seeking true charter legislation, which teacher unions and most Democrats oppose.

“It will help by relieving a few more regulations and red tape, but it’s not even close to true charter schools,” said Richard Innes, an education analyst for the conservative Bluegrass Institute policy center, noting that innovative schools will still be run by the school system.
Ooops - Innes slipped up and told the truth: their real goal is to eliminate public schools by forcing taxpayers to support private, for-profit xian madrassas and corporate drone factories.

Still think charter school proponents really want to improve public education? Check out this piece in The Nation about why so many billionaires are bankrolling the school privatization crusade in Louisiana:
While much of the reporting on these bills has focused on the fact that they will significantly lower the quality of education in Louisiana—through the voucher program, the state has begun funding schools that refuse to teach evolution, teach that the Loch Ness Monster is an example of scientific proof that humans and dinosaurs once coexisted and claim that the Ku Klux Klan had some positive impact on this nation’s history—little attention has been paid to the influx of out-of-state money to advance the education reform movement in Louisiana. And although the media have presented the case of Louisiana as anomalous—Wonkette’s Kris Benson asked “Is Louisiana not part of the U.S. anymore, or something?”—if one takes a longer view, it quickly becomes apparent that Louisiana is very much still part of the United States, and what has happened there is not anomalous but in fact is a test case for the privatization of education nationwide.


But the passage appropriation mechanism made it clear what the entire education reform project in Louisiana was about: the state spends $8.7 billion dollars annually on education, and some exceedingly powerful private business interests want a piece of it.

Lance Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University, says that despite the media focus on the voucher program, the bigger story is that of charter schools. “The pro-charter people, which include most of the research and advocacy interest groups, favor charter schools but were opposed to vouchers.” He explains, “Vouchers shift public funding into an already extant structure, but the charter schools open up an entire new market.… Every charter school in the state gets a facility for free, no rent. The old school is declared a failing school, they fire all the teachers, fires all students, and they have a whole new for-profit operation.”


There has also been widespread outcry about John White’s decision to hold public schools to a higher educational standard than private and charter schools: under new rules released in July, public schools must score above a C to avoid having vouchers suck money away from them, while private schools only need to score above an F to continue receiving public money. In addition, only about a quarter of the private schools covered by the new bill will be required to disclose whether or not their voucher students are failing—only schools with more than forty voucher students, or ten in a grade, are required to disclose the test scores of their students. White has also attracted criticism for his opposition to the teacher certification process, hiring a 27-year-old without a teaching certificate to direct the state’s teacher evaluation, and his decision to hire a highly priced PR staff.


As other experiments in wholesale privatization have indicated, the likely result of this is an acceleration of wealth and power into the hands of the 1 percent, while violence and political exclusion characterize the lives of everyone else. The same forces that have initiated this process in Louisiana are hard at work implementing their agenda elsewhere, and they have nearly unlimited resources at their disposal. There comes a time, however, when enough is enough.
 If the charter school fanatics took a fraction of what they spend promoting privatization and put it into actually improving existing public schools, we wouldn't have a public education crisis in this country.

But actually improving public schools is the last thing the privatizers want.

They're writing charter school legislation right now to introduce in the General Assembly in January. Don't be fooled.

The Richest Kentuckian

Is Bradley Wayne Hughes, founder of Public Storage, with a personal net worth of $1.1 billion. Hughes' billion-plus means that 39 states and the District of Columbia each have a richest person richer than Kentucky's richest person.

That's according to Daily Finance. See a slideshow of all 51 here.

There are about 4.3 million people in Kentucky. The median household income is $41,576, about $10,000 less than the national median. That means half of Kentucky households, which average fewer than 3 people each, survives on less than $41,5766. The per capita income in Kentucky is $22,515.

Today, three quarters of a million Kentuckians, or over 17 percent, live in poverty, nearly one in four children live in poverty, and in several counties in Eastern Kentucky almost one-in-two children still live below the poverty line.
I don't know how much money Bradley Wayne Hughes pays in taxes, but I'll bet ten cents (which is the same to me as $10,000 is to Mitt RMoney) that he pays a far lower percentage of his income in taxes than working Kentuckians who earn the minimum wage.  And I absolutely guarantee he pays less (next to nothing) in payroll taxes than working Kentuckians pay.

What's wrong with this picture?

If you insist on going to church this morning, ask your pastor to answer that question. I've got another 10 cents he says "nothing."

Read more here:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Your First Time

This is adorable, and anyone who think otherwise is a sexually-repressed wanker.

Via Hullabaloo:

The Criminal Non-feasance of Red-State Democratic Parties

I doubt Fourth District teabagger candidate Thomas Massie is stupid enough to say shit like this in front of anyone who might have palmed a camera, but I'm sure his teabagger-approved, billionaire-supported personal beliefs are just as ridiculous.

Charlie Pierce:

The Democratic Party in his home district couldn't find a single person to stand up and offer the voters in that district a chance not to be represented in Congress by an obvious crackpot. No local assistant DA. No ambitious college professor; the University of Georgia is in this district. Nobody wants to stand up and make the argument that it is better for all concerned that your congresscritter not be a nut. Nobody?

"You're the third person to ask me this question over the last few days," said Joe Wisenbaker, the Democratic Party chairman in Clarke County, a piece of which also is part of Broun's district, when I spoke to him just now. "The last one was a Republican woman who was very, very angry that we don't have a candidate. So here's what I tell everyone who asks: We do everything we can to encourage people to engage politically and to run as Democrats. Last time, we had a good candidate, a lawyer named Russell Edwards, and he went to work full-time to run against Paul Broun, and he got a third of the vote."

Since then, the district's gotten sliced and diced good and proper, but, if we're ever going to get out of the god-enfeebled fever swamp into which the radicalized Republican Party is pushing the nation, sooner or later, there has to be organized, relentless push back at the ballot boxes everywhere in every election, whether that turns out to be ultimately futile or not. (Of all the things about which Howard Dean was right, this is the most important.) To his everlasting credit, an Army veteran named Stephen Simpson primaried Broun last August, and that was a good thing, even though Simpson got beaten pretty badly. If the Republicans could come up with a candidate to a least raise the question of why we should have frothing loons in our national legislature, the Democrats should do their part as well.

"I've got a great number of people telling me that they don't want to be represented in Congress by a nut," says Wisenbaker. "I mean, we're all embarrassed here."

Dammit, do something about it, then. Find an unemployed UGA grad who can give a speech. At the very least, voters should hear somebody on a platform calling Paul Broun out instead of leaving it at a distance to impotent media snark.
Seriously, Democrats? This is the best you can do? A crook's son who won't campaign and who has a mockable past? There was nobody other Democrat in the entire freaking district who looked like more credible as a candidate?

Pathetic. One more House seat the GOP shouldn't hold, but will. 
Kentucky's Democratic Party is just as bad if not worse - usually. Amazingly, this year, we in Kentucky's Fourth District have a strong, sane, Democratic candidate to vote for.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "We Will Not Be Moved"

Uploaded by ZioKikkoUT on Aug 4, 2010

"Give every responsible homeowner a chance"

"I just wish it didn't take an act of Congress to do so."

With secure Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, that won't be a problem. What are you doing to elect Democratic members of Congress?

Full transcript here.

No, Cap and Trade Would Not Cost You $1,700 a Year

It doesn't make any difference because A) Ol' Cowardly Worm Chandler would vote against it if he had the chance and B) we won't see another chance at cap and trade in our lifetimes, much less before catastrophic climate change is past reversing.

Neverthless, it's nice to see a coal-state major paper finally printing what the reality-based community has been screaming for years.

John Cheves at the Herald:

... the Waxman bill Chandler voted for would have eventually, by the year 2020, led to an average net cost of about $175 per household annually, according to a June 2009 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That's less than one-tenth the sum the Republican Party alleges.
And C: actual, already-accelerating  global warming is going to cost each of us way, WAY more than $1,700 a year.

Read more here:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Look Out for Pork in the Trees

If you thought Walmart workers would gain raises and right through collective action on the same day pigs fly, better watch out for falling swine shit.

More than a year ago, Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo lyrically told me that the company had changed its relationship with communities, from a “transactional to transformational” one. That had a nice ring to it. Indeed, Walmart had grown more sophisticated about philanthropy and sustainability, voluntarily improving in these areas. But Restivo was not referring to the retailer’s management philosophy. It’s long been clear that the company’s relationship with its workers would never be “transformed” without dramatic action from the workers themselves. Thanks to some brave employees, and a union open to experimentation and real organizing, that action has at last begun.

In October, for the first time in Walmart’s five-decade history, workers walked out of stores in Dallas, Miami, Washington, greater Los Angeles and elsewhere, supported by some 200 people who showed up at the company’s Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters for its annual investors’ meeting. The group mic-checked human resources vice president David Scott, who weakly invited them to meet individually with his department. “We are not here individually. WE ARE NOT HERE INDIVIDUALLY,” the workers politely shouted. “We are here as a group. WE ARE HERE AS A GROUP.” At the heart of the actions is the workers’ demand for freedom of association.


It appears unlikely that Walmart can quell this level of unrest easily. Workers in Walmart-controlled warehouses in Illinois and Southern California were on strike for several weeks this fall. The OUR Walmart strikers are back in their stores, but they have told the company that if their demands are not met, Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year—will be a rowdy one, with strikes and actions at stores all over the country.

To be sure, as Walmart never tires of pointing out, the strikers are a small fraction of the its 1.4 million US employees. But if Walmart employees win changes in their workplace this way, workers everywhere may realize that it can be done. Says UFCW spokesman Evan Yeats, “If we change Walmart, we change things not just for our members but for the working class in America.” Now that would be “transformational.”

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "There is Mean Things Happening in This Land"

Uploaded by anomalek on Aug 12, 2011

John L. Handcox, Washington D.C., 1937

Rand Paul Even Dumber on Foreign Policy Than Romney

My guess would be that the State Department employees "most responsible" for the death of Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens - to the extent that any State Department employees are responsible at all - are the ones who died in the consulate at Benghazi.

Joe Gerth at the Courier:

Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that someone in the U.S. State Department needs to lose his or her job over the Sept. 11 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“If someone made a decision that may have cost the ambassador his life, they need to be reassigned at the very least,” the Kentucky Republican said after speaking to the Rotary Club of Louisville. “They need to lose their ability to make those decisions again.”

The Obama administration has been under fire because of its response to the attack and its refusal before the attack to assign more security personnel to the consulate in a part of Libya where al-Qaida has established a foothold. On Aug. 2, more than a month before the attack that killed Stevens, embassy security personnel asked for more bodyguards, saying “the security situation in Libya remains unpredictable, volatile and violent.”


“I think there are some important questions that have to be asked,” Paul said in an interview. “Why were there no Marines guarding the ambassador, why was the security detail denied, and why was the plane denied.
 Let's see if I can explain this in the slow, one-syllable way Aynrandy seems to require:

A) The extra security was requested for the EMBASSY, which is in TRIPOLI, hundreds of miles away from the consulate in BENGHAZI, where Ambassador Stevens died.

B) Marines at U.S. Embassies have one job and one job only: protecting the paperwork and electronic information. They will protect that information even if everybody in the Embassy dies.

C) Ambassador Stevens made security and transport decisions; is the dishonorable gentleman from Kentucky blaming the Ambassador for his own death?

It's real easy, from the comfortable confines of the Rotary Club of Louisville, to criticize American diplomats who risk their lives every day in the service of their country.

The Tribble-Toupeed One wouldn't last five minutes in that job, much less in President Obama's. Shut the fuck up, moron.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Dem Stupidity on Mourdock/Romney

Any stupid, hateful thing any repug says is a stupid, hateful thing said by every other repug. Don't let them deny it; don't let them repudiate it, don't let them get any distance at all from the most hate-mongering, extreme, stupid and ridiculous members of their party.

Down with Tyranny:

Patty Murray, head of the DSCC wasn't letting the GOP get off the hook so easily. "While Mitt Romney is rightly distancing himself from Richard Mourdock today, his ad endorsing Mourdock's extreme candidacy continues to air in Indiana. If Mitt Romney is serious about repudiating these heinous views on rape, he will take down this ad immediately. National Republicans cannot paper over Richard Mourdock's heinous views on rape. Enough is enough. The Republican Party needs to stop the coddling and take a stand against the horribly offensive and dangerous views of the Tea Party and their extreme candidates."
No, No, NO, NO!

This is what you say:
"Romney clearly still endorses, supports and shares Mourdock's disgusting policies that would condemn American women to Taliban-like barbarity.  We congratulate and thank Mourdock for courageously standing up for real republican values and Mitt Romney for maintaining his support of Mourdock."

Has your repug congressional candidate condemned Mourdock yet?  If not, that means she agrees with and supports Mourdock, and thinks god ordains rape.
Make sure everybody knows!

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "No More Mourning"

Uploaded by mackleonardfilms on Jan 27, 2012

How Unions and the Left Brought Each Other Down

Make no mistake: the real enemy of both Labor and the Left is repugs and the corporations who own them. But 40 years ago we stopped fighting them together and let them put us at each other's throat.


Joan Walsh wrote a very nice piece about McGovern that's well worth reading. This excerpt speaks to my point above and, I think, may explain to some younger folks the dynamic that created so much of what we see today:
When I asked labor historian Jefferson Cowie in an interview whether he could identify one crucial moment in the Democratic Party’s post-’60s unraveling, I expected him to fudge like a good academic, but he surprised me; he had one: “The 1972 decision by organized labor…to destroy McGovern. Because that solidified a moment. It said, ‘We can’t work with the unions,’ to the left and to the women’s movement and the rest. It said organized labor is just about guys like George Meany, and Mayor Daley, it’s really the same monster, we can’t deal with them. And that creates a natural alliance between the New Left and the New Democrats, who were much more sympathetic to important issues of diversity than to labor.”

McGovern’s campaign manager, Gary Hart, would pioneer the idea of “New Democrats” who owed no allegiance to labor. When he ran for Senate in 1974, Hart titled his stump speech “The End of the New Deal.” That same year he proclaimed that his new generation of Democrats were not just ”a bunch of little Hubert Humphreys,” slandering labor’s longtime champion. A young Bill and Hillary Clinton got their start on the McGovern campaign, and it’s hard not to see the impact of McGovern’s defeat on Clinton’s careful centrism and Democratic Leadership Council politics. The DLC was formed in direct reaction to Walter Mondale’s 1984 loss, which was even more lop-sided than McGovern’s. But it was designed to eradicate McGovernism from the party – to define Democrats as tough on crime and welfare, friendly to business, hawkish on defense – everything McGovern supposedly was not. It also involved the party running away from its proud New Deal legacy, and defining itself more as what it wasn’t than what it was.
We now bemoan the loss of the labor movement in America and for good reason. But the rift between labor and the left during that earlier era deprived both of a necessary ally. Labor thought perhaps in those days that they were powerful enough that they could ally themselves with the right on cultural issues without weakening their political clout. And after the defeat of their idealism, the left thought they could co-opt business and industry for their own aims. Both were completely deluded about the reactionary nature of the American Right.

Joan sees the coming back together of the left and labor in the Obama coalition of 2008. I wonder if that's true. And even if it is, it's with a much diminished labor movement and a Party as divided as ever on issues of war and peace. It was a very costly rift.

George McGovern was a fine politician and a good man. Like Joan, I think he may have deserved a better party than the one he had.
Obama comes at the end of a 30-year cycle of narrowing and narrowing what passes for the liberal agenda. The landscape was so different in the 1970s that Nixon was calling for a guaranteed income. Now when Democrats are really feeling bold, they highlight policies that they are proud to reveal were based on Republican ideas of just a few years earlier, things like the Heritage Foundation’s health care plan or the market-based solution of cap and trade. I would disagree that liberalism – although that’s probably the wrong phrase – has disappeared. It’s just become hidden beneath a thicket of campaign contributions from wealthy donors. The decline of unions as a political counterweight means that Democrats chase big money, and not surprisingly they respond to big money concerns. Issues like poverty, hunger, and need go unremarked upon on the national stage, even while they remain core concerns at the community level.

Defenders of the current Democratic Party would say that the structures set up through the Great Society have sustained the poor through the Great Recession, eliminating the need for more or better programs. They would point to this Congressional Research Service study showing a 33% increase in anti-poverty programs since 2008 (with “anti-poverty” defined incredibly broadly by Sen. Jeff Sessions, who commissioned the study to ensure that the welfare state looked as big as possible). The automatic stabilizers for the poor worked, they would say. And a majority of the new spending came from the stimulus, which contained lots of boosts for the poor. Heck, the Affordable Care Act, they would argue, represents a transfer from the pockets of those tapped to pay for the legislation to subsidies so poor and near-poor people can purchase health insurance.

You can assess these arguments on their own. But I would say that the agenda at the upper echelon of the Democratic Party has narrowed over the past 50 years, and it’s not like the safety net is so stable and robust that there’s nothing more to do. In fact, our social safety net is among the tiniest in the industrialized world. But poor people don’t have lobbyists, and that’s how Washington works these days.
Liberals and Unions are not just natural and traditional allies; we are essential allies.  Labor and the Left are symbiotic. Only working and fighting together can we prevail; apart, we cannot even survive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nationalize the Crazies

In a statement emailed to ThinkProgress, NARAL Pro-Choice America called on Romney to withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock: “Mr. Mourdock’s lack of compassion for rape survivors is callous, insulting, and completely out of touch,” NARAL president Nancy Keenan said. “What is equally disturbing is the fact that Gov. Romney has endorsed Mourdock and appeared in a TV ad on his behalf. Unless Romney takes back his endorsement, women voters should assume that he embraces these same extreme anti-choice views of Mr. Mourdock.”
No, no, no. Don't let that motherfucker off the hook.  Do it like this:
"Mitt Romney thinks rape is a gift from God. He may not have uttered those exact words, but he has endorsed the republican U.S. Senate candidate who did say them."
Richard Mourdock: saying out loud what Mitt Romney and every republican really believes."
Another Republican religious rightist has doffed the sheep's clothing and said what a large percentage of them believe:
... tea party-backed Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock ... who's been locked in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate Tuesday night whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said....
This is mainstream thinking on among religious rightists -- don't let them tell you otherwise. 

And National Review's Katrinko Trinko says that Mourdock was impolitic but not wrong.

Mitt Romney has distanced himself from Mourdock's remarks. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has called on Romney to remove his recently released Mourdock endorsement ad from the airwaves.

But what Democrats rarely do is make a sweeping case that the election of any Republican empowers the most repellent Republicans -- Mourdock, Todd Akin, and so on.

Whereas Republicans routinely nationalize campaigns -- every Democrat is the equivalent of some hated Democrat (Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid now, Ted Kennedy a while back). In the right-wing media, Democrats in and out of campaign season are expected to be responsible for the words and deeds of ACORN, the New Black Panthers, Sean Penn, Code Pink, PETA, and Rosie O'Donnell.

Why not say that if you elect Romney, you risk empowering Akin and Mourdock, and you certainly empower dozens of Republicans who think just like them (like, say, Romney's running mate)?

It won't happen. Democrats occasionally say that voting for one mild-seeming Republican empowers scarier others (Elizabeth Warren has a good ad to this effect), but it's the exception, not the rule. For Republicans, it's the rule.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Raggedy Hungry Blues"

Part One uploaded by mrblindfreddy9999 on Apr 23, 2011

Part Two published on Mar 12, 2012 by amollyjackson

What Liberal Value Will Dems Abandon Next?

Want to see abortion and birth control become the non-issues surrendered to the freakazoid wingnuts the way gun control has? Then sit home, don't vote, let Romney win and watch the Democratic Party help the xian taliban take over.
All over the morning talk shows and on the various chatter streams, I'm hearing Republicans claim that talk about women's issues, particularly abortion, is a sign that the Democrats are losing. I don't agree with that, but I do know that if Romney wins, the Democrats will almost certainly blame their emphasis on women's issues as the cause (and will likely start thinking of abortion the same way they think about gun control.)

How do I know this? Because the GOP is setting it up that way and the Democrats always blame the left side of the dial for their losses. It's just a matter of finding the right left wing faction to pin it on. I'm going to guess it's the women's turn to pay.
Yes, voting for many Democratic candidates feels like rewarding bad DINO behavior, and it is.  But it's also the only way to keep from power people who will not just annoy us, but actually kill us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's the Turnout, Stupid.

Every Democratic voter you know personally who does not vote by November 6 is your fault. Make sure you don't have a single lost Democratic vote on your conscience.

Steve Benen at Maddowblog:

Late last week, a CNN poll of Florida voters found something interesting. Among likely voters, Mitt Romney enjoys a slight edge over President Obama, 49% to 48%, but among registered voters, the president has a large advantage, 50% to 43%.

In other words, Florida voters overall clearly prefer Obama, but a whole lot of Obama supporters in Florida just don't intend to show up. Though the results weren't quite this dramatic in the new NBC/WSJ poll, the national trend is pointing in a similar direction.

I put together this chart to help illustrate the gap -- among registered voters, the two candidates are tied at 47% each, while among registered voters, the president leads by five. Other recent national polls also point to the same phenomenon, with Obama faring much better with the adult population overall, and worse with those most likely to actually vote.

At a distance, this is a mixed bag for both sides. The good news for Obama is that he has room to grow -- there are voters out there who want him to win, but are inclined to stay on the sidelines. If they can be motivated to cast a ballot, the president's odds improve considerably.

The bad news for Obama is that, with just two week to go, he may very well lose because his supporters made a choice not to show up when it counted.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "The Internationale"

In response to the woman in Danville, KY, before the Vice Presidential Debate, who insisted without evidence that President Obama is a communist.

No, ma'am, "communist" is not a euphemism for "ni**er."

Uploaded by dphusion on Sep 9, 2008

New Atkins Commercial: "Tom Massie in His Own Words"

From Bill Atkins' campaign:

What Tom Massie says in this commercial is unbelievably scary and completely undeniable.
Massie is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He claims to support the Brent Spence bridge project, but watch how he brags about turning down federal money for a bridge in economically devastated Lewis County.
Watch Massie declare war on coal, condescend to women, spread paranoid conspiracy theories about his neighbors, and arrogantly boast of his Texas SuperPac funding. Best of all, watch him ask "You aren't taping me, are you?"
The Courier-Journal was right yesterday when it said "Washington doesn't need any more tea party freshmen".

Watch this video and more Massie nonsense at Please share and forward this video and help make sure voters learn the truth about Tom Massie before it's too late.

Real "War on Coal" Not What Partisans Claim

Sometimes, watching coals miners, their families and their communities blame the federal government for the coalfield economic disaster caused by coal companies and global economic forces is like watching a battered wife blame her injuries on everybody but the motherfucker actually administering the beatings.

The refusal of the media to look behind the slogans just encourages the mendacity and increases the confusion.

Vicky Smith at AP digs beneath the surface :

The war on coal, observers say, is a sound bite and a headline, perpetuated by pundits, power companies and public relations consultants who have crafted a neat label for a complex set of realities.

It's easier to call the forces reshaping coal — cheap natural gas, harder-to-mine coal seams and slowing economies — some kind of political or cultural "war" than to acknowledge the world is changing and leaving some people behind.

War, after all, demands victims. And in this case, it seems, the victims are demanding a war.
 Read the whole thing.

Read more here:

Monday, October 22, 2012

RIP, Russell Means

Criminal lawyers have a standard response to character attacks on their witnesses: priests and nuns rarely witness violent crimes. 
In the same way, leaders of civil and human rights movements are rarely polite, soft-spoken, diplomatic types.
The disgraceful treatment of Native Americans in the 1960s demanded someone loud, rude and willing to at least threaten violence.
It demanded Russell Means.  

Russell Means never shunned attention. Whether leading Native Americans in railing against broken federal treaties, appearing in a Hollywood blockbuster or advocating a sovereign American Indian nation within U.S. borders, the activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee reveled in the spotlight. 
But it was only on his terms. Openly critical of mainstream media, the onetime leader of the American Indian Movement often refused interviews and verbally blasted journalists who showed up to cover his public appearances. Instead, he chose to speak to his fan base through YouTube videos and blog posts on his personal website.

When he did speak out publicly, he remained steadfast in his defense of AIM. He found himself dogged for decades by questions about the group’s alleged involvement in the slaying of a tribe member and the several gun battles with federal officers during the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, but denied the group ever promoted violence.

‘‘You people who want to continue to put AIM in this certain pocket of illegality, I can’t stand you people,’’ Means said, lashing out an at audience member question during an April gathering commemorating the uprising’s 40th anniversary. ‘‘I wish I was a little bit healthier and a little bit younger, because I wouldn’t just talk.’’

Means, who announced in August 2011 that he had developed inoperable throat cancer but told The Associated Press he was forgoing mainstream medical treatments in favor of traditional American Indian remedies, died early Monday at his ranch in in Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Salomon said. He was 72.
Read the whole thing.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Power and the Glory"

Uploaded by Sirlongpass

American Justice

It's outrageous enough that the Wall Street gamblers have not been prosecuted, much less imprisoned, for stealing trillions from the American middle class in pursuit of yet more obscene wealth.

But when the motherfuckers skate even for actual, physical, violent assault that draws blood, we've reached a new level on our long skid toward banana republic status.

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

The law only applies to the little people:
Charges against William Bryan Jennings, the former Morgan Stanley (MS) U.S. bond-underwriting chief accused of stabbing a New York cab driver over a fare, will be dropped, police said.

“I’m aware that the charges are being dropped,” Detective Chester Perkowski of the Darien, Connecticut, police department said today in an interview. He declined to comment further.

Jennings was accused of attacking the driver, Mohamed Ammar, on Dec. 22 with a 2 1/2-inch blade after a 40-mile (64 kilometer) ride from New York to the banker’s $3.4 million home in Darien. Ammar, a native of Egypt and a U.S. citizen, said Jennings told him, “I’m going to kill you. You should go back to your country,” according to a police report.

Jennings faced assault and hate-crime charges, each of which brings a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He was also charged with not paying the fare, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty March 9.

Eugene Riccio, Jennings’s attorney, wouldn’t confirm that the case had been abandoned.

“All I’m saying is we’re showing up,” he said today in a phone interview. “We have a court date Monday, and we’re going to be there.”
Jennings car service didn't show up after a Christmas party, so he hailed a cab. Jennings says the cab driver agreed to a $204 fare, but the driver asked for $294. Jennings also claims the cab driver changed his story.

It's possible the police are dropping the charges because the driver's testimony wouldn't be considered trustworthy by jurors. But it's also extremely likely that a poor person without good lawyers who had pulled this stunt would be getting the maximum sentence.

A rich banker confronting a cab driver over a fare dispute, attacking him over it after a Christmas party, and then getting the charges dropped at the last minute, is pretty much a microcosm of criminal and economic justice in this country today.
What kind of person argues, much less uses violence, over what amounts to pocket change?

An obscenely rich Wall Street motherfucker, of course.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Covering Up Mitt's Stupidity

Digby wonders what repugs are really trying to do by pimping this Benghazi non-story:

Pat Buchanan responded to Eleanor Clift's similar question by saying they all lied to protect Obama's reputation as a terrorist killer. That's the best explanation I've heard for why the right is pimping this so-called scandal, but it's mighty thin in my opinion. Most of the country doesn't even know where Benghazi is and don't consider a "terrorist attack" there to be particularly relevant to their lives. To think they would vote for Romney on this basis strikes me as a reach.

On the other hand, it is a perfectly magnificent example of their ongoing power to invoke "the smell test" with the political press and create a controversy out of confusion. It's always telling when they can't really tell you what it is they suspect is happening, but it just "looks bad."


Clearly, the deaths were a tragedy and an investigation should take place. Americans have a right to know exactly what's going on in Libya. But obsessing over what the administration said in the first days after the attack is the stupidest right-wing manufactured pseudo-scandal I've come across in quite some time. And it's pathetic that the mainstream press is still so willing to chase after these shiny objects.
Isn't it obvious? Attacking what President Obama said about the attacks that killed four Americans is a distraction from Mitt Romney's stupid, ridiculous and un-American remarks attacking American diplomats in Libya.

When Ambassador Stevens died,  Romney was the object of near-universal opprobrium for criticizing our diplomats while they were under attack. He was revealed as dangerously unprepared to be president - until the repug lie machine geared up and turned the attention to what President Obama said.

Romney's near-treason fell off the media radar and hasn't been heard from since.

Mission accomplished.

Silencing Workers

Whatever else you may think about a particular union or unions in general, there is one basic law of workplace physics that cannot be denied:

The only institution on the planet that has as its operating principle, its raison d'etre, its single purpose protecting workers against management, is the union.

And the existence of unions in the economy is the only thing standing between corporations and their goal of turning all workers into dependent serfs without rights.

Which is why the number one goal of corporations and the repug politicians who support them is not eliminating taxes, but eliminating unions.

Mitt Romney may have trouble delivering a clear message on most issues. But there’s no mistaking where he and his allies stand on the question of whether working people and their unions should have a voice in American politics. The candidate, who has relied on the support of billionaire-funded Super PACs to stay in the running, told NBC’s Education Nation Summit in late September, “We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians…. I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.”

Republicans like Romney and their biggest donors know that after Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United, corporations and wealthy individuals can dominate the debate through unlimited spending. They also know that as long as union members are able to pool dues and small contributions to challenge the corporate agenda of cutbacks, layoffs and privatization, there is going to be a debate on fundamental questions about education, social services and whether America is going to have a middle class.

So Romney wants to silence the voices of teachers, cops, sanitation workers and firefighters. And he’s not alone. Some of the biggest donors to GOP campaigns—including the billionaire Koch brothers—have gathered their resources to do just that. Working with the ultraconservative Lincoln Club of Orange County, a key player in the Citizens United case, they spent millions to get an initiative on the California ballot in November. Proposition 32 would bar automatic deductions from the paychecks of union members to fund campaigns on their behalf. But it doesn’t stop there; Prop 32 would prevent public and private sector unions from aiding state and local candidates.

Unions like the California Teachers Association and the California State Council of Service Employees are among the largest and most politically engaged in the nation, and though they are often outspent, they have held their own against the campaigns of GOP candidates like Meg Whitman and billionaire-funded initiative proposals. If Prop 32 passes, however, unions “could become almost extinct in California politics,” says UC San Diego political science professor Thad Kousser. Labor activists agree. “First they silence our voice,” says the California Labor Federation. “Then they will come after our jobs, wages and retirement.”
In an honest fight, voters will protect collective bargaining rights, as they did last fall in Ohio by a 62–38 margin. That’s why Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers and their billionaire pals are spending so heavily—and campaigning so dishonestly—to silence the voice of unions. And that’s why, as important as the presidential race is, it’s also vital to win fights to maintain the capacity of working people to speak truth to power.

The Healthcare Dodge

Corporations will always fuck over their employees and work against the national interest, because immorality in pursuit of profit is their guiding principle.

From Firedoglake:
Here comes the dodge. Darden Restaurants owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Darden Restaurants “is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting the impact of looming health coverage requirements.” By 2014, employers must provide health care to all full-time employees.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Testify"

 You know what's going on. Tell everyone you know.

Uploaded by RATMVideosHD on May 18, 2010

The movie ran through me
The glamour subdued me
The tabloid untied me
I'm empty please fill me
Mister anchor assure me
That Baghdad is burning
Your voice it is so soothing
That cunning mantra of killing
I need you my witness
To dress this up so bloodless
To numb me and purge me now
Of thoughts of blaming you
Yes the car is our wheelchair
My witness your coughing
Oily silence mocks the legless boys
Who travel now in coffins
On the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness
And it's right outside your door

Now testify
Now testify
It's right outside your door
Now testify
Yes testify
Its right outside your door

With precision you feed me
My witness I'm hungry
Your temple it calms me
So I can carry on
My slaving sweating the skin right off my bones
On a bed of fire I'm choking on the smoke that fills my home
The wrecking ball is rushing
Witness your blushing
The pipeline is gushing
While here we lie in tombs
While on the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness
And it's right outside your door

Now testify
Yeah testify
It's right outside your door
Now testify
Now testify
It's right outside your door

Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
And the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
And the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
And the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
And the price is set

Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?

Now testify
It's right outside your door
Now testify
It's right outside your door

"Come Home, America"

RIP, George McGovern.

First, Charles Pierce on the first and best presidential vote he ever cast.

I voted for George McGovern. I continue to this day to be prouder of that vote than of any other I ever have cast, and not merely because, by voting in my home state, I was part of the only electorate in the nation to spit in the eye of Richard Nixon, who actually was a crook.

McGovern was the last of so many things — the last true prairie populist, the last truly antiwar war hero, and, really, the last true insurgent to rise through the primaries and capture the nomination of a major party. (Carter me no Carters. The party establishment fell in line behind him the way it never did behind McGovern. There was no "Democrats for Ford" operation run against him. It only turned against him once he was in office.) Accepting that nomination, at a time when the Vietnam War was still raging, and when the country was not yet aware of the depths of the crimes committed by the incumbent and the men around him, McGovern delivered one of the great acceptance speeches of all time, and the only thing that anyone remembers is that it took place in the whiskey hours of the morning.
Read the whole beautifule thing.

Second, John Nichols at The Nation on the genius of "Come Home, America."
George McGovern’s vision makes even more sense now than it did in 1972.
When McGovern ran for president in 1972, his slogan was “Come Home, America.”
The South Dakota senator’s message was a necessary and appropriate one for that moment, when the United States was mired in what seemed to be a war without end in Southeast Asia—a war that emptied the US treasury into the coffers of a military-industrial complex that demanded resources that could have been spent on job creation, education and healthcare.
And it still resonates:
Together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning,” McGovern told the convention that nominated him almost four decades ago.
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America.
From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.
From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick—come home, America.
Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.
The wisdom and hope that was inherent in McGovern’s call that year was not sufficient to defeat Richard Nixon. In a matter of months, however, polls would reveal that Americans regretted their decision, as they came to recognize the extent of Nixon’s corruption.
Forty years on, McGovern’s vision that America might come home to the ideals that had nourished it from the beginning is less a matter of hope than necessity.
 I often long for another FDR. I think what the Democratic Party really needs is another George McGovern. 

Demanding Religious Oppression in Louisville

Yes, freedom of religion is also freedom from religion.

Which is why any claim that your religion allows you to violate a civil law is unconstitutional, un-democratic and un-American.

Greg Kocher at the Herald:

A Rally for Religious Freedom at Lexington's Phoenix Park on Saturday featured speakers who questioned a new federal mandate requiring religious organizations to provide health care coverage for employees that covers abortion drugs and contraception.

The Obama administration has "seized the power to define what faith is, who the faithful are, and when, how and where we get to practice our faith," said Bryan Beauman, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, a socially conservative legal consortium.

About 40 people turned out to listen to five speakers at the rally, the third in Lexington since the administration's Jan. 20 announcement regarding implementation of the 2010 health care law.
First, the law applies to the businesses and organizations run by religious groups: catholic hospitals, muslim soup kitchens, baptist childcare, jewish schools. Churches, mosques and temples themselves are exempt.

As Charlie Pierce puts it, catholic bishops have no right to deny contraceptive coverage to the minimum-wage housekeepers who keep their hospitals clean.

Secondly, note that the freakazoids have no objection to religious organizations paying for Viagra. No, no war on women going on here, not at all.

Ensuring that employees have basic health coverage is not "seiz(ing) the power to define what faith is, who the faithful are, and when, how and where we get to practice our faith," that's protecting the religious freedom of the 99 percent of us who are not freakazoid motherfuckers.

Read more here:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Real Fight Starts November 7

Fabulously wonderful Joe Biden weaseled on this one in the VP debate, which tells us that that regardless of the outcome of the election, Job One on Nov. 7 is going to be stopping the gutting of Social Security.

Don't be fooled by the reference to "tweaks;" those are massive benefit cuts.


Here is a good piece on the Democrats' emerging position on Social Security and what it will meant to you if it happens. The whole thing is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight this one section on the "tweaks":
So how big are these so-called "tweaks"? Let's take them one at a time, keeping in mind that the average monthly retirement benefit under Social Security is $1,230, and most people have little or no other income in retirement. For single persons who do not own homes, benefits are 92 percent of net worth. Hello old people living alone in rental housing, we need you to tighten your belts!

1. Benefits are determined by applying cost-of-living changes to a worker's wages. Explaining exactly how here is boring and unnecessary. All you have to know is that a small change in a factor applied over many years adds up to a big change at the end. 

2. The second favored tweak is an increase in the retirement age. This reform is designed by people who work sitting on their ass. 
An increase in the retirement age might not look like much to someone just starting out, but it will look quite different to people in their 50's who do not find joy in their daily work. Moreover, a later retirement means less benefits. After all, retiring later doesn't mean you get to die later. A higher retirement age is a benefit cut. How big a cut, you will ask. But first, there is an additional malignant feature of this device: It has a bigger negative impact, the lower one's income. The reason is that those with lower income have shorter life spans on average, so their years of retirement benefits are reduced by a higher proportion than those with higher income. So it is unnecessary and unfair to boot.


3. The third celebrated tweak is described as means-testing, which means reducing benefits for those with higher income. 
We might note that Social Security is already means-tested -- benefits for those with higher incomes are taxed. If we were absolutely compelled to means-test, the income tax would be the logical tool, since it takes into account family size, other income, dependents, etc. Done on the Social Security side, however, means-testing benefits (= taxing benefits more) is a crude method of economizing. You all can guess why the income tax will not be used for means-testing. Don't make me do all the work here, people.


The bottom line is that for the majority of retirees with little or no savings, a benefit tweak IS a slash in benefits.

Keep in mind that this is likely to be done while snowing you into believing that it's "shared sacrifice" because oil companies could be required to end some superfluous subsidies and wealthy people will be "asked to pay a little bit more." You are supposed to feel good about this because "we're all in it together." Except, of course, that's nonsense. The wealthy will feel nothing, will suffer not at all, will not even know it happened. Their lives will go on completely unchanged. And possibly the upper middle class will make some minor adjustment and carry on unscathed as well, assuming they aren't unlucky enough to have a catastrophic illness or some bad luck that makes them lose their financial security. (Keep your fingers crossed, suburban professionals!)

But it will make a difference for the majority of Americans who struggle through life paying their taxes, working at average or low paying jobs and who, for a variety of reasons (mostly because they don't get paid enough money) are unable to save much for their retirement. Those people are going to hurt. A lot. Especially as they get really old.
To even consider "tweaks" in Social Security while billionaires are paying a third of the taxes they paid in the 1950s is fiscal treason.. And that Democratic officials are leading the charge rather than manning the defenses is an obscenity.

Social Security is perfectly fine for the next 75 years. To make it solvent for eternity, all we have to do is lift the cap on income so people have to pay into Social Security on their income over $110.000.  Now that's a tweak we can live with.

Why "Cheap" Coal is Way Too Expensive

“What if we factored the environmental and health impacts of burning coal into its cost?” Results would be $500 billion/year, or 17.8 cents/kilowatt hour. Included is a tender collection of photos and descriptions of what is happening to ordinary people directly affected by coal.
 The truth is that if the true cost to the nation in avoidable illness and death, pollution, devastated communities and ruined food sources of using fossil fuels of all kinds were actually expressed in the market price of fossil fuels and petroleum products like plastic, we'd never extract or import another drop of oil, ounce of coal or cubic inch of natural gas.

Because it would be too fucking expensive.

If our electricity and gas bills included the real cost of coal, oil and gas, there would be riots in the streets demanding solar, wind and geothermal energy. Right now.

We're paying the real cost of fossil fuels not in the price at the pump or the electric meter, but in the taxpayer dollars spent to clean up the pollution and treat the illnesses we don't make Big Oil and Big Coal pay for.

Renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels by an order of magnitude. Demand it now.