Thursday, October 31, 2013

There's Plenty of Money - That Rich People Stole

This isn't a debate any more about the rich paying their fair share.  This is about the crime of grand theft perpetrated by the parasitic rich in stealing trillions of dollars from the workers and middle-class.

Digby on Democrats letting the rich get away with it:

They are actually defending the fact that they were forced into choosing between vegetables and fruits for school lunches and food stamps for poor people. Our progressive representatives passively capitulated to the absurd notion that we could not do both. How many of these "deals" have Democrats made over the past few years?


Right, poor people are much more fucked than they were before and are about to get fucked even more.
The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion, roughly equivalent to the GDP of Russia. That is a gain of $300 billion from a year ago, and more than double a decade ago. The average net worth of list members is a staggering $5 billion, $800 million more than a year ago. The minimum net worth needed to make the 400 list was $1.3 billion. The last time it was that high was in 2007 and 2008, just before the financial crisis. Because the bar is so high, 61 American billionaires didn’t make the cut.
$10 trillion, motherfuckers.  Give it back.

Good for Target, But I'm Still Boycotting

First, I doubt Target would be doing this in the absence of a state law requiring it.

And second, get back to me after the corporation and executives stop giving millions of dollars to extremist, anti-American and anti-Democratic causes and candidates.

Think Progress:
The big box retailer Target will stop asking prospective employees about their criminal records on job applications, the company announced over the weekend. The decision signals an important move toward helping former inmates who struggle to find work because of employment discrimination.

Advocacy groups for ex-offenders’ rights have pushed for years to “Ban the Box,” a phrase referring to the box on an employment application that asks about someone’s criminal past. The question, administered before a person has a chance to even land an interview, can disqualify otherwise eligible candidates off the bat.

But, starting at the beginning of next year, Target will wait until making a provisional job offer before inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal record, giving candidates the chance to make their case before an employer passes judgement. The company’s decision comes just a few months after Minnesota — where Target is headquartered — approved a “Ban the Box” statute.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Arsonists Blame the Firefighters on Obamacare

Back when Congress had a professional staff to do research and pose questions at hearings, this would never happen. Staffers would hog-tie Members and lock them in their offices before letting them humiliate themselves on live cameras like this.

Rude Pundit:

Let's bottom line this: Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration said they needed more money to get the website right. Congress said no. And now Kathleen Sebelius has to look these same motherfuckers in the face and answer their stupid ass questions about why the website has had so many failures. She should just hold up a goddamn mirror as her response to every question.

Bully to you, Republicans. You got the Obamacare you wanted, one that has people frustrated and angry. You've tried to defund it, challenged it in court (which you're still doing), stopped states from making their own functioning exchanges (which is one of the big reasons the cluster has been fucked) and not accepted expanded Medicaid, outright lied about shit, and were total assholes about encouraging people to sign up.

Please, don't pretend you care about making it all work better. Shit, that's like a terrorist saying that he's gonna help rebuild the embassy he just blew up instead of claiming responsibility and threatening to bomb more places. Own it. The fuck-ups are yours at least as much as they are the Obama administration's. Arguably, more so.

So take a fuckin' bow. You deserve it, you obstructionist twats. After all, we probably wouldn't even be talking website breakdowns if, instead of throwing the wrench into the machine, you had used it to tighten the bolts.
Let's be careful in making comparisons to wonderfully-working marketplace programs like kynect in Kentucky. Kynect has to sign up 640,000 uninsured people.  The federal website has to sign up 30 million uninsured people. Governor Beshear made sure kynect got all the funding, staffing and support it needed to work. The federal website got nothing but obstruction.

Congress should be kneeling in the dust before Sebelius, admitting that despite their most desperate efforts, she beat them. 

Magic Buggy Whip Dead-Enders

Someday not so far in the future, people will look back on pro-coal rallies the way we look back on Ku Klux Klan rallies during the civil rights era: dangerous fools screaming against the tide.

James R. Carroll at the Courier:

Thousands of miners from Kentucky and other coal-producing states, joined by some members of Congress, rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday to demand an end to what they described as an Obama administration “war on coal.”

“I hope somebody hears it, man,” said Will Stevens, 24, an Ohio County, Ky., miner for 1 1/2 years. He and fellow miner John Russell, 23, of Providence, Ky., wore black sweatshirts emblazoned with “Pick Coal” in white letters.

“I’d like to have a future in it,” said Russell, who has been mining for two years. “There isn’t a member of my family who isn’t a miner — except my sister.”

The two Kentuckians, like most of the other miners and their families at the rally, rode buses through the night to the nation’s capital — many making their first visits — to deliver their message, as one sign put it, to “Free America and the Coal Miner.”
There is no "war on coal," though we desperately need one  The war going on in this nation is the war by coal on coal miners, their families, their communities, their environment and the future of the planet.

The only way to save coalfield communities, the national economy and the planet is to reject coal and all its evil works and find salvation in manufacturing clean energy.

Unfortunately, the latest "summit" planned for eastern Kentucky is unlikely to produce any such proposal.

Bill Estep at the Herald:
With Eastern Kentucky stung by the loss of 6,000 coal jobs, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday kicked off an effort to come up with ideas to boost the region's crippled economy.

The two announced a summit in Pikeville on Dec. 9 where residents may offer ideas for the region's future. The summit will be called SOAR, for Shaping Our Appalachian Region.

They also announced the creation of a planning committee of more than 40 leaders from the region who will come up with ideas and help plan the summit at Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center.

Beshear acknowledged there have been a variety of efforts dating back decades to draft plans for developing Appalachia's economy. If this new effort is to make a significant difference, Beshear said, the ideas for reviving the region's economy will have to be homegrown.

"For us to be successful, the people here are going to have to develop that road map for success," Beshear said during a news conference at Hazard Community and Technical College.
As long as "the people here" are the same people desperately propping up the decaying corpse of coal, the December summit is going to fail as spectacularly as its many predecessors.

For some genuinely new and practical ideas for eastern Kentucky generated by genuine eastern Kentuckians not blinded by Big Coal's lies, check out the proposals from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Meanwhile, Senator Mitch McConnell and his DINO opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes are competing to outdo each other in embracing coal's stinking, decomposing corpse.

Attention eastern Kentucky voters: candidates who love Big Coal hate and despise you.
ead more here:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whatever His Constituents Want


How about witch burning?  "Witches," of course being non-conformist and otherwise trouble-making women.  I bet you could get higher poll numbers for feminazi burning than for slavery.

And killing handicapped newborns? I bet you could get a big majority for infanticide, especially from the anti-choice crowd that doesn't give a fuck about babies, only fetuses.
And human sacrifice!  At the halftime of NFL games!  Boy THAT would really be popular!

Steve Benen:
After Republicans did a bang-up job at minority outreach last week, it was tempting to think the party couldn’t possibly make matters worse. Think again.
A Nevada assemblyman came under fire Monday after a YouTube video surfaced in which he told a Republican gathering he would vote to allow slavery if that is what his constituents wanted him to do.
“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose … they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah,” Assemblyman Jim Wheeler told members of the Storey County Republican Party at a meeting in August.
The comments have not been well received by Nevada Republican leaders, who are rushing to distance themselves from the GOP state lawmaker. The Republicans’ state Senate leader, for example, suggested Wheeler “find a new line of work.”

For his part, Wheeler published an explanation of sorts on his personal website, saying that his point was only that he’s inclined to support literally any position embraced by his constituents. It’s not that he endorses slavery, only that he would allow slavery if his constituents wanted him to.
I first had the constituents-vs-conscience debate with a town council member decades ago. I always thought it was easy to claim constituents-first as long as 1) your constituents were generally sane and did not demand things like slavery and 2) reliable polling was rare enough that you could claim your constituents supported whatever you wanted them to support. 

So the real question is why Wheeler chose slavery as the constituent-driven issue he'd be "forced" to support. Why not abortion on demand? Or 100 percent tax on income over $1 million? Or $1 million per person restitution to the descendants of American slaves?

Because, of course, those are things he would never support even if 100 percent of his constituents demanded that he do so. Slavery, on the other hand, is obviously something he would pretend to oppose but be perfectly happy to vote for if he could plausibly claim his constituents wanted it.

How do I know he's lying? Because he's a repug and his lips are moving.

"Good Guy" Gets Shot With Own Gun

I wouldn't call this news, because this is by far the likeliest outcome of people thinking they have to be their own police force.

Mark Boxley at the Courier:

A man attempting to break into a Bullitt County home shot a woman with her own gun Monday after she confronted him at her back door, Bullitt County Sheriff’s Detective Scotty McGaha said.

The incident happened at about 4 a.m. in the 300 block of Smith Lane in Hillview when the woman got up to let her dogs out, he said.

The woman told investigators she heard a noise and grabbed her 9mm handgun. When she opened her back door she was face to face with the suspect, police said.

The man — described as being about 35 years old, white with no facial hair and wearing a red baseball cap — was able to take the gun away from the woman and shot her once in the shoulder, McGaha said.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Deficit Fetishists, Austerians and Pain Caucus Are All About Punishing Poor People, Period

Remember these three:

1) The deficit is too low, and that's why we're still in a recession.

2) Budget cuts kill jobs, and that's why 10 million people are still unemployed.

3) The filthy rich stole all the money from the working class, and we won't have economic growth until they give it all back.

David Atkiins at Hullabaloo:
Why do all these "deficit hawk" conservatives hate Obamacare, again?
The Affordable Care Act is already working: Intense price competition among health plans in the marketplaces for individuals has lowered premiums below projected levels. As a result of these lower premiums, the federal government will save about $190 billion over the next 10 years, according to our estimates. These savings will boost the health law’s amount of deficit reduction by 174 percent and represent about 40 percent of the health care savings proposed by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles commission—in 2010.

Moreover, we estimate that lower premiums will lower the number of uninsured even further, by an additional 700,000 people, even as the number of individuals who receive tax credits will decline because insurance is more affordable.

In short, the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money.
It's arguable, of course, whether we should even be worrying about the deficit right now. Some of us don't think it's even close to our biggest concern compared to people actually being able to get healthcare, so the fact that Obamacare is also saving money not just for real citizens but also the federal government itself is just icing on the cake.

But there is an entire political party and pundit class out there that professes to believe that deficits are the scariest thing ever, and we need to do something about them right now. They also happen to be the same people who are the most opposed to the Affordable Care Act. How does that work, exactly?

It works because most of the deficit fetishists never actually cared about the deficit, per se. The deficit is just a symbol to them of a moral laxitude about a culture of dependency that can only be fixed by slashing social spending and forcing people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. It's a social, moralistic fetish, not a regretted position based on actuarial review.

Obamacare makes real people's lives a little easier, and makes insurance company CEO's lives a little bit harder. The deficit fetishists don't actually care whether it saves the country money. Morally, it feels wrong to them that the poor aren't suffering more. It never was about the deficit in the first place.

Bluegrass Defenders Deploy More Tools to Stop Pipeline

The best chance for stopping toxic fracking waste from poisoning Central Kentucky is the bill filed by State Senator Jimmy Higdon to close the eminent domain loophole. But activists aren't confining their efforts to drumming up legislative support for the bill.

Greg Kocher at the Herald:

Opponents of the Bluegrass Pipeline hope to use an existing tool in their favor: local zoning ordinances.

Citizens and officials in a couple of counties are discussing the possibility of inserting additional language into zoning laws to protect themselves from the impact of natural gas liquids pipelines such as the one proposed by Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, the two energy firms that want to build the Bluegrass Pipeline.

Tom FitzGerald, an attorney with the Kentucky Resources Council, will discuss regulation through zoning Monday night with members of the Pendleton County Joint Planning Commission in Northern Kentucky.

"I will be talking about the range of authority that counties have, and I will be presenting my recommendations that could be taken to get out ahead of proposed pipelines," he said.
Find out more here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sign Here to Disclose CEO Pay

How many times bigger than your minimum wage is the compensation showered on the Big Boss?  Here's your chance to force the motherfucker to tell the world.

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

Where progressives find themselves unable politically to alter actual legal realities themselves, oftentimes the best substitute is increasing transparency on the realities that exist. Campaign finance is one such area, where in the absence of actual publicly funded campaigns and the ability to exclude big money from the process, the current rage is disclosure laws.

A similar tactic is being pursued for CEO pay:

We already know CEOs of major corporations took home 354 times more pay than the average rank-and-file U.S. worker in 2012. Now, we have the opportunity to see what CEOs make compared with the typical worker in their own companies.

A rule proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would require companies to disclose the ratio of total compensation between CEOs and the pay of the typical worker. The SEC rule is part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Major corporations like Walmart really don't like this, which is why we need your help.
The AFL-CIO has petition to implement the rule. Please go ahead and sign it. As long as Republicans hold the House these are the sorts of things we can do to make progress until such time as we can hopefully alter the balance of power in Washington.

When Only Repugs Can Vote, Repugs Win

When I say repugs want to make sure the only people who can vote are white, straight, rich, xian men who are registered republicans, I mean repugs are right now making certain the only people who can vote are white, straight, rich, xian men who are registered republicans.

nonnymouse at Crooks and Liars:

But there's an extra, very nasty little sting in the tail: these approved voter IDs also require that voters have their up-to-date legal name at the polls. This effectively impacts a huge proportion of women, particularly those who are married. Only 66% of voting age women has ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship and what Texas considers a "legal" name. This is largely significant because married women don't always update their documents with their married names, while changing names after marriage isn't something that usually affects male voters. 34% of women voters – those who are even aware that such an ID will be necessary or they will be prevented from voting – are hurrying to update their documents, not so easy to do and, tellingly, not that quick. Texas is making obtaining this photo ID with a so-called "up-to-date" name as difficult as possible; women must show original documents, along with both a birth certificate and proof of marriage, divorce degree, or court-ordered changes. Photocopies just aren’t good enough.


Women’s votes matter. More women than men vote, and women make up the majority of minority, student and elderly voters. Black women in particularly have the highest turn out of any voting group, at 66%. Women voters were the deciding factor in electing Barack Obama, more than any other demographic block, and determined 22 of the 23 Senate races in 2012 that allowed Democrats to retain control. Texas’s new voter ID law and its draconian requirements will effectively remove 34% of women who would ordinarily be eligible to vote from being able to do so, a significant enough proportion that could ensure an election in the Republican Party’s favour.
And how hard can it be to zip down to the DMV and get a proper ID? According to Ari Berman, it's pretty damned hard:
Getting a valid photo ID in Texas can be far more difficult than one assumes. To obtain one of the government-issued IDs now needed to vote, voters must first pay for underlying documents to confirm their identity, the cheapest option being a birth certificate for $22 (otherwise known as a “poll tax”); there are no DMV offices in 81 of 254 counties in the state, with some voters needing to travel up to 250 miles to the closet location. Counties with a significant Hispanic population are less likely to have a DMV office, while Hispanic residents in such counties are twice as likely as whites to not have the new voter ID (Hispanics in Texas are also twice as likely as whites to not have a car). “A law that forces poorer citizens to choose between their wages and their franchise unquestionably denies or abridges their right to vote,” a federal court wrote last year when it blocked the law.
Of course. Suppressing the votes of the young, the poor, racial and ethnic minorities and women would be the point. We know who they tend to vote for don't we?

Luckily there is one group that won't have to worry:
Texas has the distinction of being one of the few states that allows you to vote with a concealed weapons permit, but not a student ID.
Hey, I don't see why they should have to show a permit. They should be able to just hold a gun to the poll workers head and demand a ballot. That ought to be enough to prove they're a Real American, right there.
Yeah, they're passing those free IDs out like candy.

Just 0.003 Percent Of Eligible Texas Voters Have Received A Free Voter ID

Despite an estimated 1.4 million voters in Texas who lack a photo ID, Texas has issued only 41 free ID cards since last week.
Bonus feminazi bashing!

So It’s Working As Intended?

Among its other successful disenfranchisements, the new Texas vote suppression law works as a poll tax on women who left their IDs in their maiden names.
Underthemountainbunker has a gif that shows how to fix it.

Women's Rights? What Women's Rights?

Again, a fetus is not a separate entity subject to any law.  It's a clump of cells in a woman's body, no different from an appendix or a tumor. Until the woman expels it from her body and it breathes on its own, it is nobody's business but the woman's.

Charlie Pierce nails it, and concludes:
Shut up and birth, vessel.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Wants to Kill the Affordable Care Act

Yes, she does.

From The Hill:

The Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said she's in favor of delaying ObamaCare's individual mandate until the enrollment website is fixed.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes came out for delaying the mandate and extending ObamaCare's enrollment period until, the law's troubled online portal, is fully functional.
That, you repug-lite little bitch, is far more lethal to the Affordable Care Act - the one that is saving the health and lives of 640,000 Kentuckians - than any number of "repeal" votes in Congress or anything Mitch McConnell has done in three and a half years of trying to kill it.

Charlie Pierce on the same trick being tried by another DINO:
Here's the thing, and it cannot be repeated enough -- without the individual mandate, the Affordable Care Act cannot work. This is a principle accepted by, among other critters, the Romneybot 1.0 when it was taking the same plan around its original test track, the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts (God save it!). Any attempt to eliminate, delay, disrupt or generally foozle around with the individual mandate is to cripple the law to one degree or another. If that's what you're aiming to do -- Hey, Marco! -- then you're OK with that. If that's what Joe Manchin is up to here, and the odds are pretty good that it is, then he needs to get slapped down, hard, by the Senate leadership. (Hell, he ought to be slapped down hard merely for broaching this cockamamie plan on Bill O'Reilly's Big Funhouse Of Megalomania.) The connection between the glitches and the individual mandate are tenuous at best. (The whole IRS-gonna-gitcha argument about the ACA was a wingnut bogeyman story in the first place, and it's even less believable now.) If Manchin wants to delay the mandate because he doesn't like it, he should say so, and he should admit hat he doesn't like the law, period, because, otherwise, he's saying he likes the law, but not the parts that make it work, and that would be a really dumb thing to argue. Then he should get the hell out of the way.
You ain't foolin' nobody, Alison. Not the Mitch supporters laughing their ass off at you doing their work for them, not ACA national champion (and leader of your state and your party, BTW) Governor Steve Beshear (who must be pulling out his hair and cursing your name at your betrayal) and most certainly not the Kentucky Democratic voters who have already written in their 2014 calendars to on no account bother to show up at the polls in November to vote, because there won't be a Democratic candidate running for U.S. Senate.

Unless we draft Steve Beshear.  Filing deadline is January 30.  

"Arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem." Put this officer in charge of the Drug War

This is real community policing: the kind that turns people away from crime instead of turning them into bigger criminals.

John Amato at Crooks and Liars:

And now for something beautiful.
A Florida police officer bought one hundred dollars of food for a mother that she detained for stealing groceries. A mom decided to steal food to feed her three hungry kids, but the officer that stopped her didn't arrest her.
She asked, do you even have food at the house and I looked at her and I told her no.
I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry so I went in and bought her some groceries.
It's really nice to see kindness like this. If the officer was a Randian disciple, she probably would have arrested her and let the kids be put into foster care. This was much, much better.
Since this story went viral, other people have sent this mother money and one has offered her a job.  That's not kindness; that's community self-sufficiency.  Jailing that mother and her kids would cost the community far more than helping her does.

"The security of health care is not a privilege for a fortunate few, but a right for every one of us to enjoy."

You forgot to mention, Mr. President, that Kentucky's Affordable Care Act marketplace is still the best and most successful in the country, despite our handicap of both U.S. Senators doing everything they can to sabotage it.

Full transcript here.

Majority of Kentucky School Kids are Poor

At 56.6 percent poor students, Kentucky is the seventh-worst in the nation, after Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Georgia.

Shit, even West Virginia, Tennessee and Texas have lower percentages of poor students than Kentucky does.

From Colorlines, via alternet:

In 17 U.S. states, the majority of public school students are low-income. But the poverty isn’t distributed evenly across the country, according to a  new report from Southern Education Foundation. Thirteen of the states are in the South, and the other four are in the West.
The situation is dire. Researchers measure the landscape by the numbers of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, a rough proxy for gauging poverty. Students are eligible for free or reduced meals if their family household income is 185 percent beneath the poverty threshold. In 2011, a student from a single-parent home with an annual income of $26,956 or less would qualify for free or reduced lunch. In Mississippi, 71 percent of public school students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In New Mexico it’s 68 percent; in California 54; in Texas it’s 50 percent.
The recession that began in 2008 certainly exacerbated trends, but childhood poverty is a problem much older than the recession. Between 2001 and 2011, the numbers of children in public schools who classified as low-income grew 32 percent, or by some 5.7 million kids. As a result, by 2011 low-income students made up nearly half of all public school students. While 30 percent of white students attend schools where the majority of students are low-income, 68 percent of Latino students attend schools classified as such. And 72 percent of black public school students go to schools where the majority of students are low-income. The situation has serious implications for the educational futures of the nation’s youth, especially as budget-crisis-stricken cities and states are cutting first and deepest from their public schools. 
Read the report in full here.
This is how poverty becomes entrenched, through poor kids too hungry and exhausted and stressed to concentrate in school. That's where you fight it.  With money. Lots of money.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This Kind of Racism Should Be A Felony And This Clerk Should Be in Prison

And shame on the cops for not demanding the clerk provide more evidence that just her racism.

From Alternet:

“Shopping while black” is apparently a crime in New York, as one teenager discovered, after being unlawfully handcuffed for buying an expensive belt that the Barneys store clerk mistakenly believed he could not afford, even though he paid for it, NY Post reported.

19-year-old Trayon Christian is seeking justice in court after filing a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court against Barneys and NYPD this week, for the alleged mistreatment.

The incident arose in April after Christian excitedly visited the department store on Madison Avenue to buy a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt that he had saved up for from his part-time job paychecks. 

After purchasing the item and leaving the store, the college student was grabbed by undercover officers and asked, “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” the law suit alleges.

The Barney’s store clerk had called police, once Christian exited, claiming that the purchase must have been fraudulent. 

The undercover police officers allegedly asked Christian for his ID, telling the teenager that he could “not afford to make such expensive purchases”. After verifying that the card did in fact belong to Christian, they let him go.

Christian, who has no arrest record, said he would never shop at Barneys again and subsequently returned the belt out of disgust.

His lawyer, Michael Palillo told the Post that Christian was unlawfully targeted because of his skin color: “His only crime was being a young black man,” said.

Barneys has not commented on the matter.
$50 million from Barneys and another $25 million from the city ought to be barely sufficient.

Teabaggers Aren't the KKK - They're Worse

It's not rude to call out the motherfuckers for fucking their mothers; it's necessary.


So I hear that people are upset with Alan Grayson for characterizing the Tea Party as racist and comparing it to the KKK. It's very rude, dontcha know, to compare a far right group of the present to another far right group of the past and especially the Tea Party who've never shown the slightest bit of racist behavior that might make the comparison apt.

Well, not much:

I'm sure people will shriek that the Tea Party is not a violent group and so just because they show a teensy bit of racial intolerance there's no reason to compare them to a violent group like the KKK for goodness sakes. So, I hesitate to mention this because it's so very impolite, but there's actually been quite a bit of right wing violence in recent years, much of which is based on the kind of slogans and rhetoric you commonly see and hear at Tea Party rallies.  This list is incomplete and only goes up to 2011, but it gives a pretty good picture of what's been going on:
-- July 2008A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others. 
-- October 2008Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama. 
-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime
-- December 2008In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb. 
-- January 2009A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampagein Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center. 
-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material. 
-- February 2009: A 60-year-old former Republican Party campaign volunteer opens fire on a gathering of Chilena exchange students in an apartment complex in Miramar Beach, Fla., after telling a neighbor he wanted to start a "revolution" against Latino immigrants. 
-- April 2009A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial. 
-- April 2009Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police. 
-- May 2009A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. 
-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard. 
-- February 2010An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.
-- March 2010Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war. 
-- March 2010An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead. 
-- May 2010A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse. 
-- May 2010A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb. 
-- May 2010Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed. 
-- July 2010An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded. 
-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant. 
-- January 2011: A 22-year-old gunman named Jared Lee Loughner with a long grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a paranoid hatred of the government walks into a public Giffords event and shoots her in the head, then keeps firing, killing six people and wounding 14 more. Gifford miraculously survives. 
-- January 2011: A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people is found along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane. 
-- January 31, 2011: An Army veteran from California with a previous arrest record for making threats against President Bush is arrested for making terrorist outside a mosque in Michigan inside a car whose trunk was filled with Class C explosives. 
-- March 2011: Five people in the Fairbanks area are arrested on charges of plotting to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge. All five are self-proclaimed "sovereign citizens," including local militia leader Schaeffer Cox. 
-- March 2011: A man from Madera, CA, named Donny Eugene Mower is arrested for the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic and the vandalization of a local Islamic religious center. The crimes were committed in the name of Mower's one-man hate group, the American Nationalist Brotherhood. His 'manifesto' asked: 'Isn't it time that someone hit back?'
Tea Partiers will say they have nothing to do with any of that. But they do have quite a history of welcoming individuals and members of groups that espouse violence to the stage with them. This report documented Tea Party rallies featuring violent right wing extremists in their midst.

So yeah, the Tea Party isn't violent like the KKK. It just has a tremendous tolerance for people who are.

Look, it's always been considered incendiary to call it like it is when it comes to the Tea Party. For some reason, despite the clear evidence that they are a revanchist, white minority that sees its hold on political and cultural power slipping away (and is deeply offended by the election of an African American to the presidency) liberals start screaming "ACORN" and hide under the bed whenever anyone has the temerity to bring it up. I guess they think it's morally wrong to point out how the Tea Party movement tracks with America's long history with white supremacy. But it doesn't change the fact that it does.
You youngsters may not have heard the term "good Germans." It refers to the people in Nazi Germany who were not Nazis themselves, who never killed a Jew or stole her belongings or even reported her hiding place to the Gestapo. No, they did nothing wrong - except stay silent. When the Allies conquered Berlin, these people pleaded for mercy, claiming they were "good Germans."

Not then.  Not now.

Starving Kids in Order to Overfeed Defense Fat Cats

From the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services:

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is notifying recipients of funding from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – that they will see their benefits decrease beginning Nov. 1.

The change is because increased benefits provided to SNAP by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009 are set to expire. Congress has not voted to extend this stimulus funding.

CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) administers the Kentucky food benefits program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in every county.


“The additional funding made a significant impact on our customers’ access to nutritious foods,” James said. “Though we are disappointed this extra funding is lapsing, we will still provide benefits to eligible customers and connect them with other community resources that can help feed their family healthful meals on a lower budget.”

The long-term change in benefits, after the stimulus funding expires, will depend on household size, income and expenses. A household of two who currently receives $367 a month will likely see a decrease in benefits by $20 a month to $347 per month.

Customers cannot appeal the change in benefits because the decrease is a result of a change in federal law.

Shutdown? No problem. Sequestration? No sweat. Defense contracts continue to show huge profits.
 Ask any farmer. This is eating your seed corn.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Corruption Disguised as Economic Development

At this point, it would be easier to document the cases in which privatizing government services either improved service or saved money. Because there aren't any.

DSWright at Firedoglake:

America’s economy is awful. Unemployment is high, young people can’t find decent work, and according to a Wells Fargo survey 37% of middle-income Americans expect to work until they die. It’s not a wonderful life – unless, you happen to have some friends in state government.

In a new report, Good Jobs First details the growing use of “public-private partnerships” (PPPs) to promote economic development and the conflicts of interests they carry. Unlike traditional economic development which is run from a department of government (Commerce for example), PPPs allow private interests to borrow public authority to promote an economic agenda. Not surprisingly, that agenda often benefits the private interests that propose it. What was supposed to be a program for economic development quickly devolved into the most base form of government corruption and crony capitalism.

Unconstitutional Domestic Spying Accomplishes Nothing. Again. As Always.

And of course because the NSA budget is classified secret, we have no idea how many billions of dollars have been wasted on this liberty-destroying, democracy-killing stupidity.


Two weeks after Edward Snowden's first revelations about sweeping government surveillance, President Obama shot back. "We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany," Obama said during a visit to Berlin in June. "So lives have been saved."

In the months since, intelligence officials, media outlets, and members of Congress from both parties all repeated versions of the claim that NSA surveillance has stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks. The figure has become a key talking point in the debate around the spying programs.


But there's no evidence that the oft-cited figure is accurate.


It's impossible to assess the role NSA surveillance played in the 54 cases because, while the agency has provided a full list to Congress, it remains classified.

Officials have openly discussed only a few of the cases (see below), and the agency has identified only one -- involving a San Diego man convicted of sending $8,500 to Somalia to support the militant group Al Shabab -- in which NSA surveillance played a dominant role.

"We've heard over and over again the assertion that 54 terrorist plots were thwarted" by the two programs, Leahy told Alexander at the Judiciary Committee hearing this month. "That's plainly wrong, but we still get it in letters to members of Congress, we get it in statements. These weren't all plots and they weren't all thwarted. The American people are getting left with the inaccurate impression of the effectiveness of NSA programs."

Tell the KY Environmental Quality Commission to Stop the Bluegrass Pipeline - Meeting TONIGHT

Tonight at 6 p.m., the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission will meet to hear public comment about the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline to carry toxic fracking liquids through the Commonwealth's fragile Central Kentucky landscape.

Recently Williams Co., the pipeline company trying to bribe and coerce landowners in 18 counties into selling their birthright for peanuts, has blanketed the airwaves and newspapers with false propaganda, telling blatant lies in hopes of blunting the growing grassroots opposition to the pipeline.

The problem is that this kind of pipeline - not natural gas, but rather toxic fracking waste liquids - is not properly regulated under federal or state law. Opponents must make the case to regulatory agencies to change the law to allow citizens and our elected representatives to properly review the pipeline plans and decide if the project is safe and worthwhile.

If you think out-of-state corporations should not be allowed to endanger the drnking water, fields and pastures of Kentuckians without any oversight, come to Kentucky State University tonight at 6 p.m., Room 509 of the Academic Services Building, in Frankfort and tell the EQC so.


The Value of Personal Thanks From the President

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Steve Beshear think they're fooling Kentucky's Democratic voters with their little act.  Beshear promotes the Affordable Care Act nationwide and non-stop, on every news show that will have him, while Grimes slides under the radar, pretending nothing related to the president has anything to do with her.

They think Democratic voters are stupid.  They're going to get a nasty surprise when Grimes loses to McConnell next November by 30 points. 

From the AP:

Gov. Steve Beshear has gotten a personal thank you from President Barack Obama for a smooth rollout of the health care overhaul in Kentucky.

Beshear told reporters Wednesday that Obama called him on Tuesday.

Kentucky has not had the technical glitches that have plagued the federal health benefit exchange. More than 18,000 of Kentucky's 640,000 uninsured residents have signed up for coverage since Oct. 1. And nearly 34,000 have completed applications.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Only Democracy in the Middle East is Dead, and Israel Killed It

There's a lot of disagreement about whether Max Blumenthal's new book Goliath libels Israel, and I'm in no position to judge who is right.

But I know this: the Israel of the Occupation, and the Settlements, and the Abuse of Palestinians is not a friend of the United States, not a dependable ally, and not by any definition a democracy.

And Israelis know it, because they are desperately spreading self-refuting propaganda.

Max Blumenthal at The Nation:

In the post-Oslo era, as the strategy that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle refers to as “peace without peace” captured the Israeli consensus, human rights activists ratcheted up grassroots efforts to challenge the occupation of Palestine and Israel’s prevailing structure of ethno-religious discrimination. Popularly known as BDS, the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israeli institutions involved in occupation has generated shock waves in international pro-Israel circles and within the top levels of Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus. The government-linked Reut Institute has designated BDS as a key national security threat and produced a blueprint for sabotaging Palestine solidarity networks around the world.
While paranoia mounts inside Israeli policy circles about the rising tide of nonviolent global resistance, Netanyahu has grown obsessed with Israel’s withering image in the West. Under his guidance, the term “delegitimization” has become a household word signifying BDS and nearly everything done in the name of exposing Israel’s violations of international law. And thanks to Netanyahu’s instigation, Barack Obama has become the first American president to explicitly pledge to battle the pressure campaign.

Groping for a convenient solution to its public relations problems, the Israeli government has turned to hasbara. The literal meaning of this Hebrew word is “explanation,” but when put into practice, most informed observers recognize it as propaganda. The more the State of Israel relies on force to manage the occupation, the more it feels compelled to deploy hasbara. And the more Western media consumers encounter hasbara, the more likely they are to measure Israel’s grandiose talking points against the routine and petty violence, shocking acts of humiliation and repression that define its treatment of the Palestinians.

AynRandy's "Give Me All the Monies" Amendment

Is he really so stupid he can't draft a constitutional amendment properly - or ask a qualified staff member to do so?
Or is he so corrupt and greedy he deliberately drafted it to make himself Zuckerberg rich?

Ian Millhiser at Think Progress:
In an attempt to breathe more life into a false claim that the Affordable Care Act gives special privileges to members of Congress — in reality, Obamacare requires lawmakers to purchase health insurance on an exchange but allows them to keep the same employer contribution to these costs that every other federal employee enjoys — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a constitutional amendment that would supposedly “hold government officials to the same standard as the American people.” Yet his amendment is so poorly drafted that it would likely have the exact opposite effect of what he claims. Should Paul’s amendment be ratified, it could convert members of Congress into a superprivileged class entitled to collect every welfare benefit offered by the federal government, regardless of their age, health or income.

Paul’s amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress,” and then includes similar provisions applying to executive branch officials and federal judges. The problem with this language, however, is that it makes no distinction between laws that give special privileges to members of Congress and laws that exclude them from federal benefits for entirely legitimate reasons.
Thanks again, Jack Conway, for running the worst political campaign in Kentucky history.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eliminate Billionaires

They are a clear and present danger to the survival of the United States economy and democracy.

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Won’t somebody think about the plutocrats?

There are millionaires, there are billionaires, and then there are the people who earn over a billion dollars in a single year. For the first time ever, the financial research firm GMI Ratings has found two CEOs making over $1 billion in annual income, according to the firm’s 2013 CEO Pay Survey.

The highest paid CEO in America last year was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who raked in nearly $2.3 billion over the course of 2012, according to the survey. The runner up was Richard Kinder of the energy company Kinder Morgan, who earned a mere $1.1 billion, less than half of Zuckerberg’s income. Sirius XM’s Mel Karmazin came in a distant third, collecting only a little over $255 million. GMI Ratings surveyed over 2,200 top executives across the country in order to establish its rankings, according to a statement from the firm. Overall, the survey found that base salaries rose 2.9%, while total median compensation increased a healthy 8.47% between 2011 and 2012. Other studies have shown that non-CEO Americans have not seen a commensurate increase in their income over the past year. For example, the U.S. Census’ latest report on income and poverty found that overall household income in 2012 was “not statistically different from the levels in 2011.”

The gap between skyrocketing CEO pay and relatively stagnant compensation for everyone else has been widening for decades. While annual CEO compensation increased by 726.7% between 1978 and 2011, average worker compensation only went up 5.7% during the same time, according to a 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute.
Let’s repeat that last one.

Changes in compensation, 1978-2011

CEO’s: 726.7%

Workers: 5.7%

Hey, the number behind the decimal point is the same. A fair system after all!
Zuckerberg pays maybe 10 percent in taxes on that $2.3 Billion he rakes in every year, leaving him $2.07 billion every single year.

I can't imagine trying to spend $2 billion each and every year. And of course he doesn't spend it - if he did, he could probably give a significant boost to the U.S. economy.

But instead he surely socks it away in some foreign tax haven, where the U.S. economy and government that created the financial and internet infrastructure that supports his $2.3 Billion annual income gets next to zero benefit from the billion-dollar gifts we have lavished on Zuckerberg and his ilk.

If we taxed Zuckerberg say 90 percent on his earnings over $1 billion, that would be $900 million direct to American taxpayers every year. Zuckerberg probably wouldn't even notice.

Murder By Austerity


Suicide rate in Kansas climbs 30 percent as it cuts services. This is murder, plain and simple.

Increase Opportunity for People, Not Just Business

Now that the Affordable Care Act has put Kentucky on the path of improving our horrible health status, let's start working on our #39 rank on the Opportunity Index.
Two years ago, Opportunity Nation, a Boston-based nonprofit, launched the Opportunity Index in partnership with the research group Measure of America. This index is an effort to shift the national conversation around opportunity and to redefine what “opportunity” means—not just in general, but in terms of who benefits. Their measure challenges the business-centered rankings of state opportunity and growth that now dominate the popular press. Their focus is on people—in particular, young people aged sixteen to twenty-four, who are finding opportunities much more difficult to come by today.
The Opportunity Index ranks states based on sixteen indicators that Measure of America codirector Kristen Lewis says are essential to the “infrastructure of opportunity” for individuals. These indicators include not just the basics—the availability of jobs, affordable housing, and quality education—but also what a growing body of research shows is critical to upward mobility: social capital and civic life. These factors make up, at the individual level, the equivalent of the “business-friendly” environment that company-focused rankings measure.

The outcomes under the Opportunity Index approach, needless to say, are radically different from those of  CNBC. Under the 2013 Opportunity Index, Texas—top ranked in opportunities for business by CNBC—ranks thirty-eighth in opportunities for people. Meanwhile, Vermont, which invests nearly double what Texas does per pupil in K-12 education ($15,096 versus $8,562), ranks first on the Opportunity Index and thirty-second by CNBC. On the other hand, some states, such as North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, manage to do right by both their businesses and their people. These three states rank in the top ten under both the Opportunity Index and CNBC, which means that creating opportunity for companies and creating it for individuals are not mutually exclusive propositions. Indeed, the best outcome of all is opportunity for individuals, broadly shared, along with robust economic growth and innovation.

The states that do best on the Opportunity Index are the states that have made investing in their people a top priority, with good schools and early childhood education, real efforts to help young people find jobs when they graduate or to keep them from dropping out, and a commitment to improving opportunity for all.
Well, no wonder Kentucky ranks 39th.

The only categories in which we score better than the national average is percentage of households paying less than 30 percent of income for rent or mortgage, and that's for the same reason we have higher-than average home ownership rates: an inexcusably large portion of Kentucky's housing stock is cheap because it's uninhabitable.
We have more banking institutions than average, but given the record of banks in the past 10 years I don't count that as a positive.
We do have a slightly higher-than-average on-time high school graduation rate, but that's a recent development.

The crime rate in Kentucky is substantially lower than the national average, but that's only because it doesn't count the crimes against the Commonwealth committed daily by Big Coal.
For the most part, Kentucky has been following the bad example of Texas, by spending billions on incentives to bring businesses to the Commonwealth while slashing funding for education, infrastructure, poverty eradication and other investments that create real social capital.

Instead, we should follow the example of Iowa.
The counterexample is the state of Iowa, which ranks sixth on the Opportunity Index. Shortly after the launch of the index, a group of local Iowa organizations, including the Des Moines Area Community College, United Way, AARP, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, and others, launched Opportunity Iowa to improve the state’s Opportunity Score, as measured by the Opportunity Index. Among the results is the state’s Skilled Iowa Initiative, an effort launched in June 2012 to match job seekers with employers.
Opportunity Nation’s aspiration is for more states to follow Iowa’s example. By changing the conversation about what’s measured, the Opportunity Index could also change what matters to policymakers’ priorities. The result would be a stronger, fairer, and more prosperous America.
 And a Kentucky that can finally stop saying "Thank god for Mississippi."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stop Helping Rapists - Yes, You

I don't know what it will take to make non-consensual sex as culturally unacceptable as smoking or child abuse. But stopping enabling the rapists would be a good start.

Jessica Valenti at The Nation:

We know how this is going to play out: there will be outrage, there will be victim-blaming, there will be media attention and maybe even a court case. And then there will be another rape. There will always be another rape.

Because despite best intentions, too many people are making America a very comfortable place for rapists. The incredible work being done by feminists—work that’s made progress changing policy and shifting the culture—is consistently stymied by an ignorant, even if well-meaning, majority. If we want justice for sexual assault victims, Americans needs to get on board with feminists or move out of our way.


When we make victims’ choices the focus of rape prevention, we make the world a safer place for rapists. It gives attackers what Thomas Macaulay Millar calls—in his excellent piece ‘Meet the Predators’—social licence to operate. You know why rapists attack rape women? Because they know the victim’s community and law enforcement will be less likely to believe them. When you tell a rape joke? A rapist thinks that you’re on their side! In ways big and small, we are making this easy on them.

I’ve written before that I think a huge part of rape culture is that we don’t have a widely accepted cultural definition of rape to guide these conversations. I still think this is true. Relatedly, there is no national standard for teaching young people—girls and boys—about sexual assault and rape culture. I theorized on Twitter last night that American girls learned more about rape culture on Tumblr than they ever did in school—the responses I got were amazing. (And distressing.)

“I’m 24 and went through the public education system. We never learned about rape, let alone rape culture. Instead we learned to dress modestly and that it’s the girl’s place to say no.”

“Rape wasn’t even mentioned in “sex ed” in high school. I found out through tumblr and other sites that it’s ok if I say “no” and that “no” should always be listened to.”

“I had extensive sex ed (which was heteronormative and cisnormative) between 5th and 9th grades. I never heard the term “rape culture” or any talk of consent at all really until I started reading (books and online.)”

We are counting on Tumblr and teenage girls to do the work that schools and mainstream culture should be doing. And as incredible as teenage feminists and online activists are, they cannot do it alone. How is it possible, that with a well-known epidemic of rape in this country, that we don’t demand rape culture be taught in every school? (Abstinence only education would need to be abolished, too.)

Perhaps to some teaching “rape is wrong” seems silly—don’t we all know this already? The truth is we don’t—as a country, we don’t really even understand what rape is. In Steubenville, a student who had learned that drunk driving was wrong—he took car keys away from an inebriated friend—looked on while an unconscious girl was penetrated because “it wasn’t violent…I thought [rape] was forcing yourself on someone.”

For every story of sexual assault that sparks a national outcry, there are thousands more that go unnoticed. Not because we don’t care, but because rape and victim-blaming is business as usual. Feminists are offering interventions to this sad reality, but if anything is going to change, we all need to listen up. And if you find yourself making arguments that feminists find abhorrent, consider that you just very well may be helping a rapist.

Save the Bluegrass: Demand Comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the Bluegrass Pipeline

Williams Co. and their pet politicians are fighting it tooth and nail, of course, because they know the project cannot survive a real study.


Need for A Comprehensive Environment Impact Statement

The proposed Bluegrass Pipeline would cross more than 700 water crossings, including the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers, and according to hydrogeologist Dr. Ralph Ewers, 120 miles of Kentucky karst terrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency that has the responsibility for seeing that projects such as this do minimal damage to waterways. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency deciding whether Boardwalk Pipeline Partners can abandon its existing natural gas pipeline that runs from western Kentucky to Louisiana, which the company says would be converted to NGL service.

An Environmental Impact Statement was required for William's Overland Pass NGL pipeline project and should be completed for the proposed Bluegrass project as well.

Sign the Petition Here

Petition to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FERC on proposed pipeline

Kentucky is blessed with abundant water resources, the safeguarding of which is essential to the success of our farms and cities, our industries and businesses, to our public health and the well-being of our communities. Thorough analysis of routing alternatives and of the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the proposed “Bluegrass Pipeline” project is essential to protecting the public and land, air, and water resources from adverse effects of the construction and re-purposing of pipelines for this project.

We, the undersigned, request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, undertake a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the entire Bluegrass Pipeline project, and that the applicants Williams, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP, and the Bluegrass Pipeline LLC be directed to refrain from engaging in any actions, including easement acquisition, that would prejudicially commit resources to one route prior to the conclusion of the analysis of impacts of alternatives (including no action).

AynRandy Confesses to Ratfucking


QOTD: Rand Paul

"I never, ever cheated. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important."
This is also known as Republican dirty tricks. Underneath his tea swilling, Aqua Buddha exterior, he's a very traditional guy.
For you youngsters, this is ratfucking.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Yes, You Get Cancer From Breathing

Air pollution in the United States may not be as chokingly visible as it is in China and Mexico City, but the invisibility of the carcinogens emitted in this country makes air pollution a greater, not lesser, threat.

Kiley Kroh at Think Progress:
Outdoor air pollution has been definitively linked to cancer and is officially classified as a carcinogen, according to research released Thursday by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization.

“The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,” said Kurt Straif, head of the IARC’s monographs section, which is tasked with ranking carcinogens.

The IARC’s research found the toll of air pollution on public health worldwide is significant. In 2010 alone, exposure to ambient fine particles was recently estimated to have contributed to 3.2 million premature deaths, predominantly from cardiovascular disease, and 223,000 deaths from lung cancer. More than half of the lung cancer deaths attributable to ambient fine particles were projected to have been in China and other East Asian countries.

Sources of air pollution identified by the agency include emissions from motor vehicles, industrial processes, power plants and household heating and cooking fumes and while the chemical makeup of outdoor air pollution varies around the globe, the IARC was clear that “the mixtures of ambient air pollution invariably contain specific chemicals known to be carcinogenic to humans.”


“This is something governments and environmental agencies need to take care of,” Straif emphasized. “People can certainly contribute by doing things like not driving a big diesel car, but this needs much wider policies by national and international authorities.”

Surprise Small Victory in the End-Shutdown Bill

They'll be back, of course, with even more campaign cash for cooperative congress critters, but for the moment, there's a ray of hope for those of us who value safe, available, affordable food.

Zoe Carpenter at The Nation:
Other than re-opening the government and averting a global financial crisis, one good thing about the funding bill passed last night was that it put an end to a corporate giveaway known colloquially as the Monsanto Protection Act.

Formally called the Farmer Assurance Provision, the measure undermined the Department of Agriculture’s authority to ban genetically modified crops, even if court rulings found they posed risks to human and environmental health. Republican Senator Roy Blunt worked with the genetically modified seed giant Monsanto to craft the initial rider, and it was slipped into a funding resolution that passed in March. There was concern that an agreement to end the shutdown would extend the provision, which is set to expire at the end of the month.

Jon Tester, a farmer and Democratic Senator from Montana, removed the measure from the bill yesterday. “All [the Farmer Assurance Provision] really assures is a lack of corporate liability,” Tester argued in March. “It…lets genetically-modified crops take hold across the country – even when a judge finds it violates the law.”

  Meanwhile, Monsanto is facing at least 16 lawsuits for failing to contain genetically modified wheat, which was found growing on an Oregon farm earlier this year. Concerns about the company’s aggressive patent policies and their implications for food sovereignty are global: this summer, Chileans protested a law protecting GMO manufacturers, and activists rallied in dozens of countries this weekend as part of the second “March Against Monsanto” demonstration. 

Let's Make Abortions Mandatory

Because that's less ridiculous than making them something to be ashamed of.
Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress:
A Manhattan woman is currently embroiled in a high-profile custody battle with her ex-husband, a wealthy bank executive. The case is making headlines because a New York judge decided to consider her decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she’s not fit to care for her two young children. 

Mehos told Salon that she was “completely shocked” that the judge agreed to allow this evidence to be used in the case. “The court jumped at the chance to use the stigma of abortion to openly scorn, interrogate, and question my ability to be a worthy parent,” she noted.


The fact that abortion is considered to be “evidence” is unfortunately nothing new. Due to the lingering societal stigma that surrounds the medical procedure, the language that we use to talk about abortion is almost always negative. It’s rare for female public figures to acknowledge that they have ended a pregnancy — and when they do, the media typically describes them as “admitting” they had an abortion, automatically construing it as an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. The shame-based approach to this aspect of reproductive health care has ensured that most women don’t feel comfortable talking about it at all. It’s not considered to be appropriate for polite company.

It’s perhaps no wonder that women who have had abortions don’t feel safe enough to acknowledge it. Sadly, the risks can be even greater than losing a custody fight. This past April, a state lawmaker in Nevada received death threats after talking openly about having an abortion.

In reality, abortion is much more common than most Americans may realize. One in three U.S. women has had an abortion by the time she is 45 years old. And contrary to preconceived notions about the “trauma” of ending a pregnancy, research has consistently found that it’s not actually an inherently emotionally damaging experience. Women report that having an abortion was the right decision for them. And when women who have abortions do have negative emotions associated with the procedure, that’s often a result of the societal stigma that surrounds it — they worry about other people finding out, or they worry that it makes them a bad person.
Women who have abortions should get medals, and parades, and offers of 7-figure jobs, and massive tax breaks.  They should be national - nay, global - heroes. Little boys should have abortion envy. Abortion should be a secular sacrament. People who oppose abortion should be treated with the same disgust and contempt we reserve for child pornographers.

Don't Expect Rational Thinking From the Freakazoid Deluded

We should have learned this after the first time Smirky/Darth defended the Iraq Clusterfuck with "I love god, therefore everything I do is what god wants me to do."

And everything repugs have done since has followed that same delusion.

Divine Irony:

"The press often talks about the Tea Party like they’re secularist movement that is interested mainly in promoting “fiscal conservatism”, a vague notion that never actually seems to make good on the promise to save taxpayer money. The reality is much different: The Tea Party is actually driven primarily by fundamentalist Christians whose penchant for magical thinking and belief that they’re being guided by divine forces makes it tough for them to see the real world as it is."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

AynRandy Grifting Poor Seniors' Social Security Checks

If you don't get mailings and emails from repugs you may not be aware of the money-grubbing con game behind all of conservative politics. No issue, no die-hard principle is above being exploited to terrify elderly white people into contributing their last dimes.

Kevin Drum catches Rand Paul doing it with a bogus alarm about unions.

Vital indeed. And "VERY expensive," of course. So please make a generous contribution to the National Right to Work Committee.
The fact that Rand Paul opposes unions—and supports the NRWC—is no surprise, but this pitch is a sign of just how much of a racket conservative fundraising has become. There's no question that card check is something that both unions and Democrats support, but it couldn't even pass in 2009, when Democrats controlled the House and had a supermajority in the Senate. It has zero chance of passing now, and everyone knows it. Rand Paul certainly knows it, and the National Right to Work Committee knows it.
But there are frightened legions of Fox News viewers out there who don't know it, and Rand Paul wants a chunk of their Social Security checks. Right now. For a campaign against a nonexistent bill that he knows perfectly well isn't going to take place. Nice work.