Monday, June 29, 2015

Admit It, It Was a Good Speech

"The president delivers his single most accomplished rhetorical performance, and it’s one you should watch rather than read."

Read the Atlantic, Obama’s Grace

Friday, June 26, 2015

More Unbelievable Palin Family Hypocrisy

UPDATE:  "Bristol Palin . . . is too busy giving lectures to hear yours."

So read Slate, A Short History Of Bristol Palin’s Lectures.  

Remember Bristol Palin, a high school drop out, unwed mother, and paid 'abstinence ambassador.'

(The abstinence 'charity' (a term used loosely as you will see) "took in about $1.7 million in donations and only gave $35,000 to groups trying to lower teen pregnancy rates.

Forty-six percent of Candie’s total expenses — $573,000 — went to Palin.

Only 6 percent went to anti-teen pregnancy programs.About $165,000 was paid to ABC for TV advertising."

Even for the Palins, this con strikes me as immoral.)

Well guess what.

"Bristol Palin, the eldest daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, announced today that she is pregnant for the second time, less than a month after calling off her marriage to Marine veteran Dakota Meyer."

Read the Daily Mail, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol announces she's pregnant again just a month after cancelling wedding to Marine veteran.

 The article notes that "Bristol did not say who the father of the child is in her statement."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Which Political Party Do the Racist Support?

UPDATE:  Working-class whites "vote against their own interests by the right’s exploitation of cultural issues. But Mr. Bartels showed that the working-class turn against Democrats wasn’t a national phenomenon — it was entirely restricted to the South, where whites turned overwhelmingly Republican after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Richard Nixon’s adoption of the so-called Southern strategy.

And this party-switching, in turn, was what drove the rightward swing of American politics after 1980. Race made Reaganism possible. And to this day Southern whites overwhelmingly vote Republican, to the tune of 85 or even 90 percent in the deep South. . .

[Most recently, this is reflected in support for Obamacare, AKA the Affordable Care Act,"a plan drafted by the conservative Heritage Foundation, on whose board Bush once served".]

For those who haven’t been following this issue, in 2012 the Supreme Court gave individual states the option, if they so chose, of blocking the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, a key part of the plan to provide health insurance to lower-income Americans. But why would any state choose to exercise that option? After all, states were being offered a federally-funded program that would provide major benefits to millions of their citizens, pour billions into their economies, and help support their health-care providers. Who would turn down such an offer?

The answer is, 22 states at this point, although some may eventually change their minds. And what do these states have in common? Mainly, a history of slaveholding: Only one former member of the Confederacy has expanded Medicaid, and while a few Northern states are also part of the movement, more than 80 percent of the population in Medicaid-refusing America lives in states that practiced slavery before the Civil War.

And it’s not just health reform: a history of slavery is a strong predictor of everything from gun control (or rather its absence), to low minimum wages and hostility to unions, to tax policy."

Read The New York Times, Slavery’s Long Shadow

"The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum."

Read the Guardian, Leader of group cited in 'Dylann Roof manifesto' donated to top Republicans.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Cult of Carl, Was He a FL Law Enforcement Officer?

UPDATE VI:  There has been little talk of the shooter's specific comment that "you’re taking over our country" as he shoots black people.

How did he develop such an attitude and belief?  Talk radio perhaps??

UPDATE V:  Now we see why the Pastor is no longer in law enforcement.

The site of the murders was a Charleston church, "a historic symbol of black resistance to slavery and racism". 

The shooter was just an everyday racist, who shouted "You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go."  He posted pictures online "wearing a jacket bearing flags from apartheid-era South Africa and what was once white-rule Rhodesia".  He also drove a car with a bumper proudly displaying "a novelty plate in celebration of the slave-holding Confederate states".

Read the Daily Mail, The suspected race-hate gunman, 21, who got a gun for his birthday and proudly wears clothing with the flags of apartheid.  

Of course, the Pastor's ignorance would come as no surprise to anyone who has heard his birther comments, often followed by claims to be 'a former Florida law enforcement officer', as he tries to to bolster his credibility on legal issues.

As noted below, there is no proof that The Cult of Carl was ever a law enforcement officer.

And his hideous, bitter radio sermons that promote fear, anger and hatred make it clear he is no Christian that Jesus would understand.

UPDATE IV:  The Pastor and Satan were in their usual good form this morning, twisting the little known facts after a church shooting (eerily like the The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963) to advance their favorite topic -- hate.

Among other things, the Pastor speculated that the man might have thought he was black, so that he could comment on stories about Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolezal.

Let's see how well the Pastor's finely tuned law-enforcement instincts are.

UPDATE III:   The cult that is Carl admitted this morning (06/11/15) that he works with Satan when he hunts.

He apparently uses the demonic influence of bait to gain an advantage while hunting deer.  He seems to believe that the deer deserves what happens for sinfully partaking of the bait corn 'it thinks it miraculously found' in the forest, but that deer thought is just the Devil at work.

I'd call to ask him to explain, but he refuses to take my calls, so I'll just have to accept him at his word, Pastor Carl and Satan are huntin' buddies.

(BTW, link updated 06/2015, still no Pastor in the LEO database.)

P.S. Pastor Carl and Satan are also talkshow buddies.  His comments regarding sexual orientation are clear false. "Evidence points toward the existence of a complex interaction between genes and environment, which are responsible for the heritable nature of sexual orientation. . .

[And a]lthough homosexuality can be inherited, this does not occur according to the rules of classical genetics. Rather, it occurs through another mechanism, known as epigenetics.

Epigenetics relates to the influence of environmental factors on genes, either in the uterus or after birth. . .

The academy found that a multitude of scientific studies have shown sexual orientation is biologically determined. There is not a single gene or environmental factor that is responsible for this—but rather a set of complex interactions between the two that determines one’s sexual orientation."

Read Slate, Here’s What We Know About the Science of Sexual Orientation

Pastor Carl may have a hard time understanding the science (the article was written by the director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of Pretoria in South Africa and another). 

Whereas, anyone who has listen to him knows, Pastor Carl's beliefs and pseudo-knowledge are based on myths and voices he hears in his head (in his case it seems to be Satan).

UPDATE II:  The database now has 214,306 names, still no Pastor.

UPDATE:  Stay tuned, I hear this is a developing story.

In an attempt to bolster his credibility on legal issues, the cult that is Carl likes to says frequently on his radio shows that he is 'a former Florida law enforcement officer.'

Did you know that the Herald-Tribune has compiled a database of 210,348 past and present Florida law enforcement officers.

Let me know if you find his name. (Here is the current page where you would expect his name to be listed.)  (Link updated 06/2013, still no Pastor.)

BTW, the database is pretty comprehensive and does include former law enforcement officers. Our current congressman was a Florida law enforcement officer, and his name is listed.

In the meantime, based upon the Pastor's self professed 10-year law enforcement background and experience, I'm waiting for the arrests that he claims are imminent.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Answer Is: Zero, No One, LOL

UPDATE IV:  AIG "was made a political scapegoat by Fed and Treasury officials and a backdoor vehicle for bailing out the world’s biggest banks, whose bailout came with much sweeter terms."

Read the Washington Post, Court tells government it was wrong to seize AIG, but awards no money to billionaire ex-CEO.

You may remember, the bank's were paid 100 cents on the dollar for worthless CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), resulting in a $14 billion payment to the Treasury Secretary's former company. 

The worthless CDOs were then dumped in a special fund named Maiden Lane III, an inside joke on the American people.  ("The name Maiden Lane was taken from a street which runs beside New York Federal Reserve in Manhattan.")  (The NY Federal reserve keeps a backdoor that opens on the street, "through which it can sneak people" into and out of the fed building.

UPDATE III:  "Instead of embracing the orthodoxy of bank bailouts, austerity, and low inflation, Iceland did just the opposite. And even though its economy was hammered by the banking crisis perhaps harder than any other in the world, its labor didn't deteriorate all that much, and it had a great recovery. . .

[C]ompare it with the United States:

How did Iceland pull it off?

Let the banks go bust . . .

Executives of the country's most important bank were prosecuted as criminals. . .

Reject austerity . . .

Devalue and accept inflation . . .

Impose temporary capital controls . . ."

Read Vox, Iceland put bankers in jail rather than bailing them out — and it worked.

While in the U.S., we bailed out the Banksters, and now they are suing us.

"Americans were angry when Wall Street’s greedy and risky behavior triggered a global financial crisis in 2008. They were angrier still when the government had to borrow and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest banks and the insurance company AIG. They were outraged when they found out that executives at those enterprises were continuing to receive big salaries and bonuses.

So just imagine how outrageous it would be if some Wall Street sharpies went to court to argue that they didn’t benefit enough from the bailouts and that taxpayers should pay them tens of billions of dollars more.

In fact, they did. And, according to legal observers, they just might prevail."

Read the Washington Post, We bailed you out, and now you want what!?!

UPDATE II:  In 2006, securities lawyer warned JPMorgan Chase of "'massive criminal securities fraud' in the bank's mortgage operations. . .

[Since then, the bank and the U.S. government have tried to silence her.  She has been prevented from talking] "by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up."

Read Rolling Stone, The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare.

UPDATE:  "Have you heard the latest about how bad the richest of the rich have it these days? It is reason to fear the wrath of the .01 percent!"

Read The New York Times, Plutocrats Feeling Persecuted, which discusses "the rise of a small but powerful group of what can only be called sociopaths."  

The question:  How many Banksters were prosecuted?

Read the Washington Post, This is a complete list of Wall Street CEOs prosecuted for their role in the financial crisis

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Test Your News Knowledge

"Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news by taking our short 12-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with a nationally representative group of 3,147 randomly selected U.S. adults surveyed online and by mail between March 10-April 6 as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

When you finish, you will be able to compare your News IQ with the average American and compare responses across demographic groups."

Take The News IQ Quiz by the Pew Research Center.

The Republi-CON 'Creationism' Myth

UPDATE:  For "a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans", read the Washington Post, How a history of eating human brains protected this tribe from brain disease.  

It is also interesting if you have any interest in religion and societal development.

UPDATE:  A new video from science advocates Stated Clearly provides an 11-minute examination of the evidence behind the theory of evolution that should come in handy for anyone debating the issue with creationists.

"Thousands of observable facts from completely independent fields of study have come together to tell us the exact same story: all living things on Earth are related," the group’s founder, Jon Perry, states.

Read Raw Story, Next time your creationist friends reject evolution, show them this video:

"Evolution is nothing more than a fairly simple way of understanding what is unquestionably happening. You don't believe in it — you either understand it or you don't. But pretending evolution is a matter of faith can be a clever way to hijack the conversation, and pit it in a false duality against religion. And that's how we end up with people decrying evolution, even as they eat their strawberries and pet their dogs, because they've been led to believe faith can only be held in one or the other.

But there's no reason for people of faith to reject the mountains of data and the evidence of their own senses. Reconciling is easy: Believe, if you want to, that God set up the rules of evolution among His wonders, along with the laws of physics, and probability, and everything else we can see and measure for ourselves. But don't deny evolution itself, or gravity, or the roundness of Earth. That's just covering your eyes and ears. And only monkeys would do that."

Read The Week, Why you should stop believing in evolution.  

Read also National Geographic, Was Darwin Wrong?

For less technical detail, read George Johnson, The Evidence for Evolution.

For more technical detail, read The TalkOrigins Archive, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, The Scientific Case for Common Descent.

Republi-CON Family Values, All In the Family Edition

UPDATE VI:  "[J]ust before he ascended in 1999 to the most powerful position in the lower house of Congress, Hastert pushed hard for a law [saying} . . .

'This bill sends a strong message to the most heinous of criminals who prey upon our children – you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law'".

Read the Daily Mail, Hypocrite Hastert called for tough action against pedophiles, kept a file called 'homosexuals' and was praised by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  

UPDATE V:  There is no comparing Lena "Dunham’s 'admission' of non-incidents of non-abuse to Josh Duggar's conduct, to begin with, he was twice her age.  But it highlight's the nature of Republi-con celebrity. 

"Duggars are essentially famous for the same reason the Kardashians are: their sex lives.

Conservatives take their celebrities where they can get them. Sure, there are actors and country music stars, snatched up quickly for pro-troop specials and benefits, but the Duggars are the rare example of a true conservative folk hero crossovers, individuals whose fame is not dependent on a celebrity-generating skill (acting, singing) but on a set of beliefs. They share that slim slice of Venn diagram (general popular recognition and genuine conservative activism) with the Duck Dynasty clan and a smattering of lesser lights: Joe the Plumber, the owners of Memories Pizza, Cliven Bundy, and Pam Geller. Military heroes are adopted quickly, and territorially. Ben Carson was raised up immediately after his one-sided “confrontation” with the president. . .

Conservatives might argue—and they have a point—that liberals don’t need a separate celebrity culture. Liberal media darlings are, pretty much, media darlings. Their path to celebrity isn’t political because it doesn’t need to be political. Lena Dunham isn’t famous because she’s the victim of a right-wing pile-on, she’s the victim of right-wing pile-on because she’s famous.

The Left doesn’t have anything quite like the conservative folk hero, people who are neither politicians nor activists nor professional performers but simply famous for being liberals. Sandra Fluke, perhaps. Cindy Sheehan (Remember her?) And when they do pop up, the liberal political ecosystem doesn’t have the same network of conferences, straw polls and candidate cattle-calls that prop up the Duggars and their brethren.

Even more than the conferences, however, conservative folk heroes find their credibility increases not via leadership but through victimhood. All criticism by mainstream voices becomes proof of worthiness—and the case of Josh Duggar exposes just how self-defeating the raising up these folk heroes via victimhood can be.

Not that the Palins would realize this. What does Sarah Palin’s own fame stand on now these days, anyway? A caps-lock key and a sense of grievance. It’s not much, but these days, it’s all any conservative celebrity needs. Ironically, it’s their grievance that makes them worthy of attention from the mainstream media as well. The Duggars’ and Palins’ off-the-map political and world views are what draw attention. Outsiders want to stare at the spectacle.

Maybe the cruelest trick that liberal elites ever pulled was luring so many camera-starved conservatives into the limelight—and out of the reality distortion field of their own devising."

Read The Daily Beast, Sarah Palin’s Bitter Cry for Attention.

UPDATE IV:  What goes around comes around, continued.

"Should the former House speaker be prosecuted? The Dennis Hastert who impeached President Clinton thinks so."

Read Slate, Hastert’s Hypocrisy. 

UPDATE III:  Gotta love that Republi-con hypocrisy.

Read Salon, Candidate Jim Bob Duggar in 2002: Those who commit incest should be executed.

UPDATE II:  Are the Duggars part of a 'fundamentalist' Christian sex abuse ring?

"Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to 'a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.' The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than "inappropriate," noting that they met when she was 15 and that he "methodically groomed" by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming "the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life" before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.

Another hardcore fundamentalist leader who had a mentorship relationship with the Duggars, Bill Gothard, was also caught up in a sex abuse scandal last year. Gothard was the leader of Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization that promotes the 'quiverfull' philosophy—particularly its emphasis on forsaking contraception and having as many children as possible. Gothard resigned after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. Prior to this, Wire reports, the Duggars were "devotees of Gothard's Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars' official website called Gothard's Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their '#1 recommended resource' for families (that page now displays as blank)."

Vision Forum, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the Duggar family are arguably the three most influential groups promoting the 'Christian patriarchy' movement, which promotes homeschooling, wifely submission, extreme pre-martial chastity (no hand-hugging or kissing), no contraception, and the idea that women's only real role in life is as wives and mothers. Having all your major leadership eaten up by sex abuse scandals is no small thing."

Read Slate, Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism.
UPDATE:  "The Duggars have previously promoted the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a conservative organization that was once popular among the Christian homeschooling movement. Gothard resigned from the institute he founded in 2014, after allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse."

Read he Washington Post, Josh Duggar apologizes amid molestation allegations, quits Family Research Council.

"The police report of Josh Duggar's alleged molestation reveals that incidents happened multiple times between the then teenager and several girls, almost always while the minors were sleeping. . .

'Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses, including forcible fondling, against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies.'

According to the police report, in March 2002, Jim Bob was told by a female minor that his son, then 14, had been 'touching her breasts and genitals while she slept' on numerous occasions.

Josh allegedly admitted to this according to the report, and Jim Bob says he was 'disciplined.'

He was accused again however in March 2003 of allegedly touching the breasts and genitals of 'several woman,' both while they were sleeping and even when they were awake.

The police report says the alleged victims 'live with their parents Jim Bob and Michelle.'

At that point Jim Bob reportedly informed the elders at his church of the situation, but no one notified law enforcement.

The family did send Josh to a 'program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling' according to the police report for four months. . .

After he returned home from his program, Jim Bob did take his son to Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, a family friend.

Hutchens had a stern talk with Josh, but did not take any official action.

He is now serving 60 years in prison after he being caught with child pornography shortly after being released from prison on a previous child pornography charge. . .

Josh currently works for the Family Research Council, and frequently posts photos of himself with [Republi-con] politicians."

Read the Daily Mail, Unsealed police report reveals 'Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar covered up after eldest son Josh confessed to repeatedly fondling girls when he was a teen - and case only went to police in 2006 because of Oprah concerns'.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In 2016, It's Either Sound Like Obama, or Sound Crazy

"The moment a GOP 2016 contender stops sounding like an uber-hawk on foreign policy, they sound very much like Barack Obama."

Read the Washington Post, The trouble with Jeb Bush not sounding crazy on foreign policy.

No one proves this better than the Donald.

And it's not just true on foreign policy, think healthcare.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Supreme Court Decision Gutting Obamacare Subsidies Will Highlight Republi-CON Hypocrisy

UPDATE:  "Republican leaders in Congress have been promising to craft a detailed Affordable Care Act alternative ever since President Barack Obama signed the law in March 2010. But while Republicans have found time to vote on repealing the health care law more than 50 times -- and have worked hard, as they did on Tuesday, to pass modifications that would benefit powerful special interests like the medical device industry -- they’ve yet to move a single Obamacare alternative through committee and to the floor. Nor has any committee with relevant jurisdiction held even a single hearing on how to handle the aftermath of a potential Supreme Court ruling that wipes out tax credits in two-thirds of the states. . .

Republicans' history of promising and then not delivering comprehensive health care legislation -- a history, after all, that goes back decades -- hints at a deep, fundamental disagreement with the entire idea. Republicans will talk up the importance of helping people with pre-existing conditions or providing financial assistance to people for whom insurance is too expensive. But creating a truly universal coverage system -- in which everybody has access, regardless of income or health -- requires taking steps that many conservatives simply can’t abide.

Specifically, universal coverage requires some combination of regulation, taxes and redistribution (from healthy to sick, and from rich to poor) that Republicans tend to find economically destructive, morally noxious or both. That's true of wholly nationalized, single-payer systems like you find in France or Taiwan. It's true of universal schemes of regulated private insurance, like they have in the Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland. It's even true of programs in the U.S. that have existed for a long time -- not just Medicare but also, to some extent, employer-sponsored insurance."

Read The Huffington Post, The Real Reason Republicans Don't Have A Contingency Plan For Obamacare.

"Prepare to be shocked, shocked, shocked! It’s increasingly looking like Republicans won’t have any contingency plan in place if the Supreme Court guts subsidies for millions in three dozen federal exchange states. . .

Some 6.4 million people are now at risk of losing subsidies nationally. . .

It shows that the greatest numbers of people who stand to lose subsidies live in states that are key presidential battlegrounds and home to some of the most contested Senate races of the [2016 election] cycle". 

Read the Washington Post, The stakes in Obamacare lawsuit just got a whole lot higher.