Joe Barton: Recipients of Meals on Wheels Should be Looking for Work 1

Joe Barton, he sticks to Republican talking points even when it doesn’t make sense!  Today in daily Republican speak Joe Barton insists that people who benefit from Food Stamps and Meals on Wheels should go to work, (scroll up to the 5:20 point)  that is the goal of Republicans to put everyone to work. Bashir reminds Barton who are the recipients of Meals on Wheels,  Joe Barton looks like a complete ass.

Does Joe Barton realize he didn’t make any sense, that his talking points didn’t really work for what he was discussing with Bashir? Dumb and craven, the traits marking almost every TRepublican Congressmen. Because in the end, there is no overriding policy in the Republican party any longer, the only issue is cutting taxes any and all funds that directly benefit citizens, including the infirm, and make sure that oil companies and giant financial institutions will reap benefits with substantial subsidies on top of more and more tax cuts!

Guess what, I predict Joe Barton will be reelected.

Dagblog

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2012 — Year of the Republican Legislative Assault on Women & Privacy 4

It is only March of 2012 and already this is turning out to be the year Republicans took their war on women to entirely new heights.

It might seem like it all began when the powers that be at the Komen Fund decided it was time to get into the game of shutting down Planned Parenthood. Shutting down Planned Parenthood has been a goal of the right since the abortion wars began. Controlling the type of healthcare available to women, effectively renders us children to the state, it’s right out of A Handmaid’s Tale, it is scary how far some of the foes of reproductive health will go. They do no only employ intimidation through threats of bodily harm, they have coupled that with enacting legislation effectively curtailing the rights of women to be full and total citizens of this country.  It’s shameful.

The quest for full citizenship for women has been ongoing since the founding of our nation, certainly the 19th amendment were the efforts of a very long struggle. We had to wait a longer time to gain control over our bodies. We are now losing that fight.

In 1965 women began to gain our own right to privacy over our own bodies, men somehow were born with that right, we had to fight to gain those rights. Griswold V Connecticut, established that a  couples had the legal right to make family planning decisions, it established individuals have a fundamental right to privacy.  This is why Griswold is so important and this is why Republicans attack Griswold, it wasn’t Roe V Wade that established the right to privacy, it was Griswold V. Connecticut and if they can successfully neuter Griswold state by state Roe v Wade can be effectively overturned.

William O. Douglas argued in the majority opinion that marriage is defined as an “association” and argues that because the Supreme Court had already found a right to privacy in associations, marriage was likewise protected. But it wasn’t on those grounds alone, Douglas also noted that the Third Amendment’s prohibition against forced quartering of soldiers, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment’s self-incrimination clause, and the Ninth Amendment’s provision that rights not specifically named are reserved to the people combine to create a broad constitutional right to privacy.

In 1972 those rights were extended to unmarried couples Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended Griswold to unmarried couples. If married couples had a  “right of privacy” then unmarried couples and individuals have the same right under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Justice Brennan writing for the majority, ” If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to whether to bear or beget a child.”

Then came the 1973 Roe V Wade decision. What is particularly telling about this decision is that the Justices knew that this would cause a firestorm of criticism. Let’s look at what Justice Blackmum wrote for the majority:

We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.

The decision itself is a highly technical decision siting decisions that went as far back at 1891 in establishing an individuals right to privacy as an implied requirement of the constitution as it is not explicitly stated.

Part VIII of the decision begins this way:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 484-485; in the Ninth Amendment, id. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed “fundamental” or “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541-542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. at 453-454; id. at 460, 463-465 (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and childrearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

They went further to state the the right to privacy is not absolute and site other cases as to why it is no absolute and then go on:

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

Their summary reviews their decision defines viability as the first trimester and sites the fundamental individual right to privacy.

And then all hell broke loose and ever since there has been a drumbeat to take reverse Roe V Wade.  Roe was decided at a time when legislatures and courts around the world were showing increasing respect for women’s right to self-determination in all aspects of life, including in deciding whether or not to bear children. Slowly the right wing has been winning the fight to restrict our fundamental right to privacy and control of our bodies by attempting to chip away at that right state by state.

Webster V Reproductive Health Services (1989) was the first Supreme Court decision that began to curtail Roe V Wade and chip away at the individual right to privacy. The Webster v. Reproductive Health Services ruled to what extent any state can impose restrictions on abortion by, for example, specifying at what stage in the life of an unborn fetus abortions might be obtained or whether government funds or facilities could be used to perform abortions. They did this under the watchful eye of Sandra Day O’Connor, she was the cover the Rehnquist Court needed and she willingly participated in the War on Women. Although she would never let them touch Roe V Wade, she did in this case allow a conservative supreme court to begin chip away at the edges of Roe V Wade.

It’s been downhill ever since. Think Progress has this great interactive map of current legislation in state legislatures to curtail women’s reproductive rights.

Let’s look at this map:

Legislation 2009 – Present

(incomplete I am sure)

Alabama SB 20: This bill would be known as the Abortion Coverage Prohibition Act.
SB 5:  This bill would define the term “persons” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb.
SB 12:  This bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion.
HB 18: Abortion, prohibited on or after 20 weeks post-fertilization, exceptions for health of mother, Legislative findings regarding pain felt by unborn child, reports to Office of Vital Statistics, civil and criminal penalties, Alabama Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Alabama has not repealed its ban on abortion, enacted in 1852, last amended in 1975.

Alaska: SB191  An Act requiring an ultrasound before an abortion

Arizona: HB 2865 A bill to restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion care.
HB 2036 Prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks
HB 2625 Allows businesses to refuse to cover contraceptive coverage
HB 2800 calls for a defunding of Planned Parenthood

Arkansas HB1113: “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act”

Connecticut: HB 5635  Intended to restrict the practices of crisis pregnancy centers, which often attract women by offering free ultrasounds. The law prohibits anyone from performing an obstetric ultrasound unless it has been ordered by “a licensed health care provider” and is for a “medical or diagnostic purpose.”
HB 6247 An act requiring the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to the termination of  a pregnancy.
HB 5099 Also requires the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to termination of a pregnancy.

Florida HB 277: 20 week ban
HB 839 20 week ban, no exceptions
SB 290 20 week ban
HB 1327 would require a physician to sign an affidavit stating that she/he is not performing an abortion because of the potential race or sex of a fetus or because of the pregnant woman’s race.

Georgia: HB 954: Fetal Pain bill, seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks. McKillip argues that this is the point when a fetus can feel pain.

Idaho: SB 1349 Mandatory Ultrasound prior to abortion
HJMO 10 Employers right  to refuse to cover contraception

Illinois: HB 4085Forced ultrasound
HB 4117  targets facilities in which abortions are performed for excessive and unnecessary regulation in an effort to shut down women’s health care in Illinois.

Iowa: HF 2298 An Act relating to the prohibition of terminations of pregnancy and abortions, providing penalties, and including effective date provisions. (This Act attempts to ban any and all abortions, and is meant to challenge Roe V Wade)
HF 2033 a bill for an act establishing prerequisites to the performance of an abortion.

Kansas: SB 238 Pre-Abortion Notification Requirement
HB 2598 no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.

Louisiana: SCR 101 & 102: Urges congress to reject a “Freedom of Choice Act” (an act that has never passed)

Michigan: HB 5343 20 week ban/fetal pain act
SB 150 Ultrasound requirement prior to abortion

Missouri: SB 749 Provides protections for religious beliefs as to the imposition of certain health care services such as abortion, contraception, or sterilization
HR 294 Urges the United States Congress to summarily reject the enactment of the federal Freedom of Choice Act.

Mississippi:HB 857 Unborn Child Protection Act 20 week ban
HC 61 Constitution; amend to provide that the right to life is a fundamental right and “person” applies to all humans from conception.
SC 555 Legislation to protect the life of an unborn child and to prohibit the use of public funds to pay for an abortion, except to save the life of the mother.
HB 1107 Forced Ultrasound prior to abortion.

Nebraska:LB 540 the bill which prohibits funding under this bill from going to “any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services or with any entity that affiliates with any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services.”
LB 675 Requiring ultrasound prior to abortion

New Hampshire: HB 1653 It is the purpose of this act to protect as a basic civil right the right of all health care providers and/or institutions, to decline to counsel, advise, pay for, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing or performing health care services that violate their consciences. Such health care services may include, but are not limited to, abortion, artificial birth control, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, euthanasia, human embryonic stem-cell research, fetal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and sterilization.

New Jersey: AB 848 Requires physicians to provide patients opportunity to undergo obstetrical ultrasound or sonogram within 48 hours of performing abortion.

Nevada: Initiative — Personhood

North Dakota: HB 1371 limitations on the performance of abortion and abortion reporting requirements.
HB 1445 A bill that requires abortion-performing doctors to inform their patients that the abortion will end the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
HCR 3015 A concurrent resolution urging Congress to reject the bill known as the Freedom of Choice Act, which would invalidate virtually every abortion-related regulation enacted by the people of North Dakota through their elected officials.
SB 2394 Bill prohibiting pregnant minors from consenting to their own prenatal care except in limited circumstances.

Oklahoma: HB 1595 The measure requires physicians to provide detailed information to the Oklahoma State Department of Health about the abortions they perform.
SB 1433 a statutory measure asserting that human life begins at conception.
SB 1274 the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act.

Pennsylvania: HB 1077 An Act providing for ultrasound test requirements to determine gestational ages of unborn children.

South Carolina: S 98 20 week ban, fetal pain bill
H 3406 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment; prohibits private insurance plans from covering abortions except through “abortion riders” paid for with a separate premium.
H3026 Mandates a 24 hour waiting period after having an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
H3408 Allows healthcare providers and employees and health insurance providers the right to refuse to perform, counsel, make referrals for legal medical procedures or prescribe or administer drugs based on conscience objections. Amended to include insurance ban described above.
S.102 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
S.165, S.245, and S.616 Establishes full legal personhood at the moment of fertilization, threatening access to legal abortion, contraception, and in vitro fertilization.

Tennessee: Amending the state constitution to restrict access to abortion.

Texas: 2011 Texas Legislature votes to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood leaving poor women. Some 130,000 low-income Texas women who get free exams and contraceptives through Medicaid could lose those benefits as a result of the dispute.
Mandatory Ultrasound Law: The impact of a controversial new Texas law that requires women to have a sonogram – and listen to a description of the fetus as well as its heartbeat – at least 24 hours before they can get an abortion is far from clear. Texas has at least 36 different pieces of legislation currently that will limit a what kind of health care a woman can receive in Texas.

Utah: HB 90 This bill amends the Utah Criminal Code by enacting the second degree felony of “criminal homicide abortion.”
HB 114 Mandates funding to defend HB 90 if challenged.
HB 222 requires that at least 24 hours before a physician performs an abortion of an unborn child who is at least 20 weeks gestational age, the woman on whom the abortion is performed shall be informed of any anesthetic or analgesic that would eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child and any medical risks associated with the anesthetic or analgesic.

Virginia: SB 817 Choose Life License Plate Proceeds from these plates are directed to pregnancy resource centers
HB 1285 Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; penalty prohibits an abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless, in reasonable medical judgment, the mother has a condition that so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. The prohibition is predicated on the assertion that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.
HB 1 Provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the Commonwealth.
HB 462 Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestational age, every pregnant female shall undergo transabdominal ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion. Virginia’s governor signed this legislation on Wednesday March, 7, 2012.

This is a round up of some of the current assaults on reproductive health in state legislatures around the country. This is an indication of an all out war on the reproductive rights of women, including in some cases a war on contraception. Republicans all over the country should be forced to defend their party’s platform and what elected Republicans around the country are doing to curtail women’s reproductive rights. This is an assault on the constitutionally protected right to privacy. If we allow them to continue to chip away not-so-slowly at Roe v Wade it may be decades of legislative battles to to reassert those rights.

*The image above comes via the Guttmacher Institute.

Below the Beltway: a Mockumentary of the Anatomy of a Political Scandal 2

I saw this movie the other morning on Showtimes Movie Channel. It is the perfect movie to see this political season, it not only brings on the big belly laughs but the story has a edge of the “real”  and as a viewer I became pretty convinced this could easily happen to any politician.

Below the Beltway is an indie film, from 21st Street Films. 21st Street Films seems to do micro-budget films, $20,000 – $500,000. It might have a micro-budget but it isn’t low quality by any means. The films story moves quickly and the story is as hilarious as it is real.

This is the story of Paul Gibson (Tate Donovan), a disgraced former beltway lobbyist. He is disgraced because there was a viral YouTube video of him speaking to a gathering of reporters and black citizens, he uses the word “niggardly” in reference to social welfare.  A hilarious and ironic scene takes place between describing what happened to Gibson, they laugh about it, and indicate they don’t give a shit whether is was deserved or not, in fact is it funnier that what Gibson said wasn’t offensive in that he used the term correctly, but it was funny cause no one seemed to understand that! But these staffers they just accept the circumstances, where truth doesn’t matter and go on, hoping like hell it doesn’t happen to them. At the beginning of the film  Gibson has one client left, the National Rendering Association, (NRA) heh, showing just how far he’s fallen. They drop him too, he’d become toxic, not jail time toxic of course, where he might get a book deal, but toxic enough that no one really wanted to be associated with him.

Gibson is trying to make his way back into politics. He finds out a salacious and scandalous story about a U.S. senator’s affair with a high school intern.  What is interesting about the film is that its foci is not just how this information is manipulated on its own, but it is also about lobbyists’, politicians’, and reporters’ manipulation of each other in their attempts exploit the impending scandal. And it makes you laugh hard throughout. It’s a wild romp with a twist at the end that is screamingly funny. It’s a fun film, I do recommend it.

*Full disclosure, I went to boarding school the Spencer Garrett, he plays the disgraced senator and produces the film. But I still y’all should see it if you get a chance, you’ll see  Spence  is funny as hell, and you will catch a glimpse of why he made boarding school a much more tolerable place.

Crossposted @DAGblog

A Newt Burns White Hot And Crashes with Silence 1

The White Hot rise of Newt Gingrich in the polls was unexpected for sure. Who’d thunk it, the biggest demagogue to inhabit a congressional seat since Sen. Joe (no relation to me) McCarthy, but  Newt the master manipulator has burned out quickly and without a major mistake! Who’d a thunk that? Not me for sure, having witnessed his man flame outs in the past.  What hurts Newt the most, is himself!

Newt Gingrich, that vile, contemptible, loathsome, odious man, a cynical hypocrite who never met a principle he couldn’t abandon or an ethical precept he couldn’t trample upon is a man with a big ugly history. What kind of man signs a no adultery pledge, after committing adultery at least twice! Only an egotistical narcissist, and that guy is Newt Gingrich.    How loathsome is it to have enlisted your own daughter to refute her mother’s tale of divorce, to make him appear to be a nice guy, a good guy. But what kind of man enlists his own daughter to do that anyway?   Newt loves the preemptive personal attack, he has mastered the art of the personal attack in fact, he seems so exciting.  As Joe Scarborough put it ” (Newt) has mastered the dark art of dehumanizing political opponents.” Newt certainly has very few political friends, perhaps that is the result of him burning every bridge that got in his way.

There isn’t a soul our there who doesn’t see what kind of man Newt Gingrich has become. His life story is well established even though it seems for the moment people have forgotten his many transgressions. If by some chance he were to win the nomination, that would be a disaster for the Republican party, and they know it too. When people remember everything there is to remember about Newt, it should finish any chance he had to become the nominee, if he somehow holds on and wins this thing, OMG, we will know for certain TBaggies are in tight control of the party.

A partial list of Newts many Epic Fails:

  • While he was Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich suggested solving some of the country’s welfare problems by taking dependent children from their parents and putting them in orphanages, certainly this was an old idea and one that went away with poor houses. But Newt he is always thinking ahead, and like people said, he has ideas lots and lots of ideas. Thing about Newt, he rarely comes up with a good idea.
  • His newest idea about children of the poor, well that we fire their parents from their jobs and give them to the kids! Kids from poor families should be working in the schools, cleaning the toilets, and the kids from middle class and rich families should never raise a finger as this is why we have ‘the poors” to do our dirty work.
  • Fined as Speaker of the House. The House voted overwhelmingly  to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). They also ordered him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House’s 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.
  • Even Steve Chapman a writer for Reason Magazine says Newt Gingrich will stop at nothing to demonize political opponents.
  • His newest EPIC FAIL came just a day ago when he said, “just vote for Obama then gay man!”
  • The FreddieFannie Historian Debacle

If I were to attempt list the many EPIC FAILS of Newt, this blog would be too long to read.

At this point I am amazed his 15 minutes isn’t over. How long ’til the next not-Mitt candidate takes his place?

Crossposted at DAGBlog

Fear and Loathing of Public Policy: Shrinking Access Post Secondary Education = Permanent Underclass 7

What are we going to do since the cost of education is skyrocketing? Students these days graduate with enormous debt or they don’t get the opportunity to attend post secondary training.

Long ago when I started college it was an inexpensive 1200.00 a year that included books. I didn’t really have debt when I graduated from college. That isn’t the case for students today, and with the cost of tuition rising as much as 20% in one year at some state colleges, soon enough the middle and lower classes will be unable to afford post-secondary education. And the thing is, we’d become a thriving first world nation in part because we expanded access to education to almost everyone.

Let’s look at some numbers:

So my numbers are personal numbers, and at the time, it was not difficult to afford a college education, I could even hold down a part-time job, go to school and not really worry tons about tuition, it just wasn’t that expensive.  Let’s look at the rising cost of post secondary education with information obtained from the US Census bureau.  The data I am going to share with you is also an example of the tiny policy things Democrats do in Office juxtaposed with how Republicans treat government function. First and foremost, the data I found spans the years 1991 – 2001, the 2001 data wasn’t published until 2006. This information is published in table form, as excel worksheets, but without an explanation of that data, that could be distributed to the general public. As usual, Republicans take the function of government for granted, but as you will see during the Clinton era, government produced much demographic information from years of data collection and comprehensive analysis. I digress, but if you follow my links you will see evidence of my statement.

It isn’t unknown to anyone that tuition at public universities, colleges and technical schools has been on the rise since the anti-pay for anything crowd solidified their choke hold on government functions. In the 1970’s prior to Prop 13, post-secondary education was free in California and in doing that they created one of the best post secondary systems in the country at that time from Riverside CC to UC Berkeley.

I digress, since 1990 college tuition has had steep increases according to the census studies.

1990-91

1993-94

1996-97

2000-2001 the data used is from Table 5b

In 1991, the total average tuition cost for a student was $2653.00 per year. At the same time students receiving financial assistance were receiving on average $2919.00. The cost of education has obviously risen, however, it is still affordable for students and there is still ample financial aid to cover the cost of education. These numbers will be used as a baseline for comparison.

In the 1993 -94 years, on average students were paying $3905.00 per year. In just two years the cost of education had risen 47%. At the same time students were receiving on average $4,486.00 in financial aid, which was up 43% from just the two years prior. A 47% increase is pretty big, and one has to wonder how many students at this time are beginning to be priced out of education. Well times began to boom even more, and people forgot about funding post-secondary education, and all over the country Tax-cutting fever began to hit every county in America. The result of course was less state funding for post-secondary education, and more burdens on students and their families. Well they were voting for that stuff, so I guess they couldn’t see plainly what could be the unintended consequences of the republican meme of “we don’t need to pay no stinkin’ taxes”.

Well the results from the 1996-97 study are even more stunning; by 1996-97 the average cost of post-secondary education had risen to a stunning $8,667.00 on average per year. In less than 10 years tuition had risen 292%, and in 3 year tuition had risen 122%, these numbers are stunning. And you begin to see a pattern developing, one that will eventually price lower and middle class kids from ever obtaining a college education, it will simply be too expensive.   Well that aside, the average financial aid package was worth about 6,022.00, and as you can see it failed to cover the entire educational needs of the student, and I believe this began a rise in private lenders who would take advantage of unsuspecting college students, in order to meet the rising cost of their education.

The 2001-2002 years are even more shocking. On average students tuition is $10,560.00 per year on post secondary education. This represents an increase of 398% from 90-91, of 170% from 93-94, and 21.8% from 96-97, which the financial aid package on average rose to $6,291.00 per year.

As you observe the stark differences in how the two administrations presented the data they gathered from Universities around the county, be reminded, this is the difference in how Republicans and Democrats view government. Demographic information is important; we use it to justify funding programs around the country. We make better decisions when analysts present the data in an understandable way, with a narrative attached as opposed to just throwing a bunch of spread sheets. It is an example of how little Republicans care about government in general; they don’t see it as useful to the nation.

It is now real news in every state in the nation that tuition costs are rising yet again, in my own state tuition costs have risen 20% this year, that is huge, and in many cases it is becoming unaffordable for many students to obtain post-secondary education. As a society we are supposed to be more conscious of funding education from k-16, because it is education that will help us prepare for our next steps economically. If we do not find a way to help students get educated without being buried in debt when they graduate, our society will be worse off for it, and we will create a permanent underclass, which will grow. As a nation, we have to ask ourselves if this is the direction we really want to take.

CrossPosted at DAGBlog

In Defense of Melissa Harris Perry 3

It all began with a Michael Moore visit to the View. It was nothing short of appalling. So we will call it Exhibit 1:

For the longest time I just didn’t know what to say about that clip, I’d certainly read all of the criticism of Moore after this episode. I’ve been formulating what I want to say since then, and reading as much as possible about onslaught of commentary that followed his outburst of what can only be called blatant racism. And in a sense I think Professor Harris Perry (ProfHP), was really responding to this, after being exposed to much of the diva outbursts that attempt to denigrate the Presidency of Barack Obama, in the so-called progressive blogsophere. I am going to introduce this clip as the penultimate example of racism in the so-called progressive community, and I am using Moore’s gaff first because it is a blatant example of employing a stereotype to describe ones disappointment in the President. Does Moore really believe this?    Moore definitely caused an avalanche virtual debate.  I did read much of it. However as a white person, I still believe I have much to learn about racism and how it manifests in the most blatant and subtle ways. Ultimately in order to bridge our racial divide white people have to listen. But in a deeper sense first and foremost ProfHP does have some real hard evidence of racism in the so-called progressive community and that begins with Michael Moore’s statement on The View. That does constitute evidence, it really does.   Why would you stoop to a stereotype to register your already well-known disappointment in the President? So we have one significant piece of evidence or outright racism, because unlike what Joan Walsh writes, evidence that is not in the form of a poll can also be relevant and serve as examples of racism at work, because most progressives don’t believe they are racist! They would never admit to it to a pollster, and that means we have to have other means of gathering data, come on, this isn’t that hard.

Exhibit 2: So after ProfHP’s original piece appeared in The Nation, Joan Walsh weighed in, with an okay blog, but it didn’t tell the entire story, and her blog required proof of racism via poll data.  Poll responses about subtle racism cannot be supported without actual working evidence, which is often the things people say and write. Joan Walsh used the conservative talking point, there is no evidence to conclude such things, when in fact there is evidence, first and foremost Michael Moore.

Exhibit 3: The leader of the group New Progressive Alliance, Anthony Noel, told an African-American blogger to get over being black and to start debating like a human. What? OMG, I don’t know how to respond to that kind of racism and I can’t believe this is actually happening and this does constitute evidence, cold hard factual evidence of racism among the so-called progressive blogosphere.

Exhibit 4: David Sirota’s response to ProfHP: Boy that guy is one mad upper middle class employed talk show radio host isn’t he, I had never read him prior to this, so I delved into his stream of consciousness, and that is what it was a stream of consciousness wrapped in white-hot anger. So let’s get to Sirota’s criticism, to which he claims not one person has taken on his so-called facts to challenge him, people have just called him a racist. Well Dave if the shoe fits buddy, I guess you will have to wear it. Sirota wrote this:

By seeing this record and then explaining away declining liberal support for President Obama as a product of bigotry, Harris-Perry exhibits the ultimate form of both denialism and elitism.

But does she really exhibit the “ultimate” form of both denialism (which is not a word for the record) and elitism, (hello pot, meet kettle). Because there is ample evidence of her thesis. Sirota doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence. First of course this elitism crap is being carried too far, Sirota by definition is a liberal elitist, he should quit pulling the faux populism card.  But what does account for the declining support of so-called progressives? Hell according to politifact.com the President has accomplished many of his campaign promises, in fact he has accomplished 147 of his campaign promises. Why are his accomplishments never acknowledged or if they are they are written off as tiny and not worthwhile and doesn’t make him progressive etc and so on. The list of his accomplishments are here: Politifact.com.  Was Clinton a surrender monkey when his health care bill failed and he never talked about universal health care again? Health Care was huge, and because of it more people are covered.

Let’s go over more examples of racism in the Progressive community and these do constitute proof, the proof folks like Walsh, Sirota and Lyons are demanding.

Exhibit 5: 2011 article by Robert Kuttner: Black and Bleak

The problem is less Obama’s failure to target black unemployment per se than his weakness on the jobs issue generally. Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

What? It is as though Kuttner doesn’t realize that the President through policy implementation has successfully “strengthened  Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help minority business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of minority firms.”  So actually the President is working to help minority communities by supporting the growth of business, which can only serve to help any given community by providing more jobs. So that makes Kuttner’s analysis not just wrong, but weird. Is it direct racism? Maybe not, but it is subtle, if Kuttner had done his homework he would see the President is implementing the same kind of policies the Clinton Admin for minority owned business. These were programs that were immediately ended when Bush took office.  No doubt African-Americans have suffered a great deal during this terrible recession, greatly. However, this is a statistic that never changes, it doesn’t matter who is in office or what his color might be. African-Americans have always suffered more during economic downturns and as a people we should attempt to address and make corrections. It is all our responsibility, and we should start by getting Republicans out of congress.   So  when I read this particular line made me feel uncomfortable; is it subtle racism? It makes me think Kuttner believes the President is just looking for approval of white, protestant men, otherwise, why is up with the sloppy statement based on some sort of ESP?

Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

Exhibit 6: FDL sometimes is a hotbed for subtle and outright racism. Case in point: This is a blog post about labor unions, but then there is this the last line in the blog:

The basic problem is that the Rich ate all the pie. What do you intend to do about it? Snuggle up to their Democratic Party incarnation some more in the hope of getting some crumbs? There used to be a term for that, on the plantations. House N****r.

No one is going to tell me this isn’t evidence of racism amongst so-called progressives. Was it necessary to  head directly to plantation talk? Was it? How can anyone write that there is no evidence of some divisive racial language used by some people on the left?

Exhibit 7: Now let’s get to Gene Lyons, who perhaps responded like a bully and then pulled his own race card.  Lyons in retaliation asserted that ProfHP was a fool, and that was bad enough, but then came the most troubling paragraph:

Furthermore, unless you’re black, you can’t possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It’s useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry’s becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

If I didn’t know better, I would have figured this was written by one Rush Limbaugh, not just denigrating the Professors expertise but making a claim that she used her blackness to intimidate tenure committees, OMG, and yet there is no racism in the so-called white progressive community.  This type of commentary makes me nearly speechless. I said nearly.  When the President was elected I was naive enough to believe that so-called progressives would never ever stoop to racially insensitive speech. I.Was.Wrong.

Cross Posted at  DAGblog

What Is Your Plan Progressives! 4

Yeah this comes out of a comment yesterday and I want to know what the progressive plan is for getting more progressive legislators into the government, because that is the pertinent question here. So before I head out on a 50 miler today, I am going to ask the question, what is your plan to getting what you want?

Let’s revisit my first question and I will take out the part everyone keys on, about taking the President down, it’s snarky I know and too easy to fight about.  I’ve conveniently reviewed some other primary challenges to sitting presidents in our more recent history, here it is again in case you missed it:

“LBJ and Carter attracted powerful left-bent primary challenges.”
1968: Libs primary LBJ, lose general.
1972: Libs go down to worst defeat in election history.
1980: Libs primary Carter, lose general.
1984: Libs loose 49 of 50 state
2012: Libs: “Primarying Obama will make us stronger in 2016!”

I will only ask you this: How do you plan to actually get what you want? Conservatives seem to have a reasonably good track record of doing that, they get droves of crazy folks elected to congress, to governorships and to statehouses. Liberals’ track record on that is abysmal. I myself am not sure how liberals can do it, conservatives have worked for more than 30 years to convince the general public that taxes =evil=socialism=communisim=ungodly=democrats. But instead of counteracting that stuff, the consensus that seems to be building  is the best way to achieve liberal goals right now is to focus most of your energy on attacking the current President. Shades of 1968 indeed. I generally agree that the entire United States could use better politicians, (which is a pipe dream for sure)  I doubt that one can return to the heady days of the New Deal/Camelot/Great Society by ridding ourselves of this current President, but I could be wrong, stranger things have happened. However, I suspect the end result will be just another chapter in American Liberalism’s melancholy history of setbacks and self-defeat.

I say this because of the things I’ve seen in 25 years of participating in the process at the very smallest levels of government to our own statehouse where I was a Senate page.

How do we attain the goal of good governance? Does it require a plan? And that is my question, in a nutshell.

But what is true is there is no “progressive plan” to infiltrate the government at local levels on up which gets us on the road to forming a more progressive government. We are searching for a better way, democrats too, but we are fighting an uphill battle.  But the pertinent question is, how do you attain those goals? Don’t you have to begin by educating the public, by infiltrating government at all levels including the School Board, the PTA, County and City Councils etc and so on. Doesn’t it have to be done first from the micro level in order to impact the macro level which is the federal government.

I don’t know how much experience many of you have with school boards and PTA’s but I have to tell you, some of the most ideological folks on the right turn out candidates and voters to be heard in school districts and I am of the opinion it all starts right there at the very bottom levels of government.

I had the displeasure of having gone to school board and PTA meetings for years,  (3 children will do that to a person) and when I write displeasure, I mean displeasure emphasis on the dis. In general I would be there and one or two others more like me,  and a pack of conservative religious right-wing, mom pants wearing wait I mean lovely women who spent their time hijacking entire meetings with nothing more accomplished than the third word of the mission statement because they are afraid everything written leaves out god and you actually argue about this for weeks on end! So I get why lots of regular people don’t participate in this stuff, it’s not fun, it’s not a particularly productive thing to do with ones personal time. However the only way to be heard to effect change is to participate. I would occasionally force my husband to go with me, but he’d actually look for things to do at home to fix so he wouldn’t have to attend those tedious meetings. People would cycle in and out, but those ideologues sent there presumably by their churches always showed up, to every.single.meeting. which gave them some defacto power.  One time we spent what seemed to be several meetings arguing about whether or not Senior English should allow their students to choose books by Sherman Alexie, who is a home town boy for gods sake!  (I am reliving those nightmares now, ugh.) Those meetings were nothing short of torture enough to scare the most civic-minded away. But if we cannot even accomplish getting on school boards en-masse or just participating at that level, in order to infiltrate the system, how will things ever change?

When I worked for the local newspaper I covered county council meetings, another bastion of participation by the property rights crowd, at this time I was covering the GMA (growth management act, quite controversial among wingers) those people flooded meetings, what a nightmare, and of course later they were able to get people on the councils that were more amenable to their views… even though the GMA’s requirements are pretty explicit in that a plan is required, but there is always wiggle room with implementation. They were then able to get more ideologues elected, and I see some of those people working their way up through the legislature now, and they began on the school board and then moved to the county council, and are now in the Washington State Legislature.

And of course we saw that at work all over the nation with ACA, where senior citizens and angry white people came to protest government-run health care… what???? But that is what happened and those actions by those people did damage to the bill, they did damage to what could have been more progressive legislation. I know you think the President is to blame, but politicians respond to those who show up to their town hall meetings.

All snark aside, what is your plan to get more progressive legislators elected around the nation? It isn’t as if almost everyone at DAG isn’t interested in changing our polices and politics, but how can you accomplish these goals without a plan.

Crossposted at DAGblog

Chris Matthews to Joe Walsh (R) Il, “He’s Your President Too.” 5

Let’s get this out there, Rep. Joe Walsh is discrediting a good name. The Joe Walsh I remember, played guitar had his own band and sang songs like All Night Laundromat Blues.. this guy, well he just doesn’t seem like he is that much fun and he is trashing what is otherwise a very good name! I know I almost voted for the real Joe Walsh in 1980, the best part was I saw him in concert twice that year, man that was a great Eagles tour. Oh, I digress, because this Joe Walsh is definitely not that Joe Walsh.

May I present you with the video, Chris Matthews versus Rep. Joe Walsh, Illinois 8th district, dufus.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

The Spike Seen Round the World Reply

On snap, Wendy Deng has some great reflexes! She spikes a shaving cream pie, intended for her husband back into the attackers face! I mean this is actually some pretty good stuff! Who knew there was something to be admired about Murdoch… that is right, his wife. This happened about 10 minutes ago.

I thought today would be a good day to record some hearings! However I didn’t realize I would get to see this:

Unknown Object

I can’t add anything more.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane Hamsher? 11

Wow, things happen when you are on vacation, and by things I mean Baby Jane Hudson  Hamsher’s blog meltdown the other day has turned into a thing of absolute wonder.  It was very dramatic wasn’t it, her Baby Jane Hudson style meltdown, dumb m-fers, really? Yeah that is the way to win an election, start another big fight on the interwebzz between like-minded people, that definitely gets us to where we want to be, wait, wut?

This ridiculous behavior is just  all too familiar to me, I still haven’t really gotten over the 2000 election. I can’t tell you how many well-meaning people I argued with back then who said they wouldn’t vote for Al Gore, who had become one of the more powerful Vice Presidents of our time, in terms of his mastery of government and his ideas of reform and modernizing government via the ever-changing world of technology.  He brought in an era of reform among the ranks of government.  Most people may or may not remember his Reinventing Government initiative, it was a program that worked, it was the result of Al Gores hard work and his experience in congress. Yet what was with the crowd that insisted  Gore and Bush were essentially the same, and why are they doing it again after all they should have learned from the Bush fiasco Presidency.  We can safely say there would have been no Iraq War if Al Gore had been President during 9-11. And yet here we are, discussing one more time how awful times a million the President is and his supporters are soooo stupid to ruin his chances like this, by supporting him, err or something.  It has now reached the crazy stage, in fact since Hamsher and that other crazy irrelevant guy Pat Cadell are actively working to make sure this President isn’t reelected, how liberal could either one really be? Yes, we know the answer, not liberal.   These shoddy analysis are pushed by the media.  They rely on manufactured controversy to get better ratings, and that is their only goal. The problem with the “primary Obama”  as led by Baby Jane is they seem impervious to facts, they seem unable to understand party politics, they just hope that the President will be in a primary race. That isn’t going to happen and if anyone thinks it will it is because they actually have their head planted firmly in the sand.  The Party has her candidate and it will not be Alan Grayson or Dennis Kucinich.  It is time to accept this fact and move on.   I am hoping we won’t let a faction of “the always pissed off crowd” disrupt this election.  I don’t know if they have the power to do so, but they certainly believe they have the power to do so.

Baby Jane Hamsher seems no different from Ralph Nader, she is a professional gadfly. She is a woman scorned no doubt about it,  I believe the blogger Eclectablog that he was sent an email from one of her employees basically saying she is going to crush him, and keep him from getting paid writing gigs on the internet..it is kind of comical in a sad sort of way. Does anyone really have that kind of power on the internet? I mean this isn’t William Randolf Hearsts era anymore, so the email comes off as ridiculous. I am not convinced anyone has that kind of power to crush a voice on the interwebzzz. How can anyone take her seriously after this kind of behavior? The over-the-top anger seems so like TBag in its apparent irrationality. And this draws us right back to the Baby Jane Hudson metaphor; Baby Jane Hudson, a former child star whose light went out long ago, her one and only goal in life was to become relevant again, one more time, this time she wouldn’t blow her chance, except that she did, because she always blows her chances.

What I don’t get is the end game, because certainly if they help sweep in more Republicans, progressivism will be even further from the doorstep of American politics. Because my instinct tells me that if you really are progressive you would want to prevent a Republican from being President, because in this day and age they simply have proven to be a threat to America. I mean hell, they are willing to play chicken with the economy, i.e. debt ceiling fiasco.  Republicans are holding a gun to their own heads and ours by their willingness to take the entire nation down in order to win a Presidential election, which is surreal and might I add unpatriotic!   And shouldn’t we be rallying people around this fact rather than fighting over whether or not there will be a primary challenger for this President?  (There will be no primary… it just isn’t going to happen).

Personally, I wish the war between progressives would end, ugh it is sooo tiring, and boring as the same issues are rehashed over and over again with no solutions in sight.   Baby Jane is relegating herself to obscurity, by her own actions, and for what? Just to be a contrarian, a gadfly, a rabble-rouser?  She never does explain why we are dumb mfers?  Nor does she adequately explain how supporting the President is really hurting his chances, is it opposite day and no one told me?  Well we will never truly be able to understand Baby Jane’s motives but I think they have more to do with making money rather than any real political agenda, she is just doing it the Rush Limbaugh/Scientology way, by building a base of fanatic followers who don’t ever think for themselves. Yikes what  way to make money.