Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Tea Party Republicanism = Totalitarianism, by (O)CT(O)PUS, The Swash Zone





UPDATE BELOW




Government by brinksmanship, by blackmail, by obstruction, by hostage taking - the Republican Party is no longer a partner in representative democracy. More like a bad marriage to an abusive spouse, the GOP has been violating boundaries and abusing the public trust since the last government shutdown of 1996. 

 Like a bad marriage, Tea Party Republicans refuse to distinguish between YOURS, MINE, and OURS. The United States is not just THEIR country; it is also OUR country and MY country. It spends not just THEIR tax money; it spends OUR tax dollars and MY tax dollars too. Government should represent the values and priorities of the American people, not merely the demands of a rabble-rousing minority. Public policy debates without compromise and consensus are not my idea of “consent of the governed” when blackmail leaves a country held hostage and a majority of its voters disenfranchised. 

This insurgent minority has: 


  • Employed covert and overt racism, deception, and defamation to delegitimize and undermine a twice-elected president;
  • Tried and failed 44 times to overturn a healthcare reform bill passed by Congress, signed into law by the president, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court; 
  • Presented a list of non-negotiable demands to gut environmental protection and financial reform, weaken the social safety net, hurt the working poor, and further undermine the middle class; 
  • Threatened default on the public debt in violation of Amendment 14, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution – thus risking a worldwide financial crisis. 


Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority (John P. Judis). 

 [The Republican Party is] becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe (Mike Lofgren). 

 A disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself (Hannah Arendt). 

These actions by Tea Party Republicans, as reckless as they are, are examples of nascent totalitarianism. Let the backlash begin.






UPDATE:


Poll Indicates GOP Has Been Deeply Damaged By Shutdown Fight



Let's Just Say It: "The Republicans Are The Problem."





There isn't much more one can add to what has already been said about the GOP's kamikaze plan to shut down the government.  People who care about this country see the Teapublicans' obsession to defund and ultimately repeal the ACA for what it is:  a fool's errand.

Nothing good can come of it.



via Daily Kos, here are some thoughts on what the crazies in the GOEP (Grand Old Extortionist Party) plan to do to our country:



ATUL GAWANDE:

"Conservatives keep hoping that they can drive the system to collapse. That won’t happen. Enough people, states, and health-care interests are committed to making it work, just as the Massachusetts version has for the past seven years. And people now have a straightforward way to resist the forces of obstruction: sign up for coverage, if they don’t have it, and help others do so as well."



Bill Clinton via TPM: 

"There's nothing to negotiate with. He shouldn't delay the health care bill. It's the law and we're opening the enrollment on October 1. We're ready," Clinton said on This Week. They're in better shape now than the country was to implement President Bush's drug program, which everybody's forgotten. Go back and look at the polls, even more unpopular than health care reform is now." "So I think that's a non-starter," Clinton said.

And this truth by James Fallows, which we all need to read and understand, since the dishonest pols in the GOEP will try to place the blame for the disaster on President Obama:


James Fallows:Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead 

As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism*** and an inability to see or describe what is going on. 

For instance: the "dig in their heels" headline you see below, which is from a proprietary newsletter I read this morning, and about which I am leaving off the identifying details. This isn't "gridlock." It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us -- and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too."









Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Night Poetry




WHO WALKS ALL NIGHT IN THE NEXT ROOM

 

One solid day of rain made by a hole
in a scarf of clouds,
my father comes to the old clapboard

house, he climbs the stairs. 
Bridegroom looking for
his waning bride; gowned, she

asks him in, to see tapestries
hung on
her heart's ruined walls,

and the blurring that time
gave her
ends in her singular bed.

She speaks to him in a brief madness
without science
Under the roof's cavern, a rested dread.

The aunts sit in black, two by two
in candled room
and laced up shoes, the keening

hour shades my father's eyes
looking past
a linened window to garden

chair and table, the leaning grass.

                                         ---S.K.

Sunday Fun Blog



Opera Diva, Renee Fleming, sings David Letterman's Top Ten List:





Saturday, September 28, 2013

Give 'em hell, Barry!











President Obama to the kamikaze maniacs in the GOP:


“Nobody gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States just to extract some political concessions.” 

 “That is not how our constitutional system is designed. We’re not going to do it.” 

The president’s message to House Republicans:

“Do not shut down the government. Do not shutdown our economy. Pass a budget. Pay our bills on time.” 

The president added: 

“Do not threaten to burn the house down because you haven’t gotten 100% of what you want.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

GOP to President Obama: If you don't give us EVERYTHING we want, the country gets it!






Nothing surprises me anymore, not even this piece of Republican extortion.  Nothing surprises me anymore from a political party whose elitist leaders--I'm looking at YOU Sen. Cruz and Jim DeMint--believe THEY know better than the American people, who believe it is THEY who have special knowledge of what the American people really, really want.  It is Republican leaders like them who are hoping for nullification of two presidential elections.  And here's proof:  In return for extending the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding this, or else


  • A year long delay of Obamacare
  • Rep. Paul Ryan’s tax reform plan 
  • The Keystone XL pipeline, 
  • More offshore oil drilling 
  • More drilling on federally protected lands 
  • Rewriting of ash coal regulations 
  • A suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions, 
  • More power over the regulatory process in general 
  • Reform of the federal employee retirement program 
  • An overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations 
  • More power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget 
  • Repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, 
  • More means-testing in Medicare, 
  • Repeal of the Public Health trust fund, and more.

(Why not demand President Obama's resignation while they're at it?)


"Put another way, the House Republicans have taken virtually every single item on their agenda and, if this bill gains the approval of the House GOP Caucus and Republican leadership, are preparing to declare that if the entire agenda of government these past five years is not undone—despite the fact that the very president who shepherded these items into law or regulation was re-elected to office by the American public—the United States will default on its debt obligations."  --Rick Unger, Forbes Magazine


The GOP is no longer a political party; it has become a gang of extortionists and malcontents who won't accept the will of the people. 

80% of Americans DO NOT SUPPORT shutting down the government over the ACA.  

President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008, promising to deliver universal health care.  He won over the conservative candidate.  The ACA was passed by Congress and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney promised to repeal the ACA as soon as he was elected.  

Mitt Romney lost.  

The American people voted (TWICE) for the man who brought universal health care to this country.

The GOP has voted to repeal the ACA 40+ times in a wasteful show of stubborn recklessness, and now they're  threatening to bring the country--and the financial world markets--to the brink of chaos, because they can't get their way.

This is not governing; this is harebrained thuggery by a lunatic minority that has taken control of the GOP.

More from Rick Unger:   


"While the Congressional lunatic fringe may have nothing to fear from a default—their districts would, no doubt, continue to send them back to Congress—the loss of the nation’s financial class to the Republican Party would mean the complete destruction of the party for years to come. Why? Because the demographics of the country, and the unwillingness of the Republicans to get out in front of these changes, now virtually assure that the GOP has ceded control of the White House for the foreseeable future. 


That means that their sole hope for power rests in the legislative branch. How long does anyone imagine that the GOP will retain control of either branch of Congress if the money leaves the Republican Party and sits on the sidelines? 

 If a default should occur as a result of a plan by the House Republicans to insure such a result—which is precisely what the Appropriations Committee proposal appears to do—The GOP will no longer be the Grand Old Party but will rather a fringe operation whose members are comprised by a shrinking minority of people who currently identify as members of the Tea Party."



This is what's really driving the extremists in the GOP nuts:


"The money is already moving down the pipeline, and Americans are about to get much cheaper healthcare.

There are bottom lines behind Congress’ latest Obamacare gyrations that are easy to miss as the most desperate Republicans keep threatening to kill the health insurance law by defunding it.

 They can’t stop it from taking effect, just as they haven’t been able to repeal or defund it in every federal budget fight since it passed in 2009—including their latest rants. 

Moreover, there’s billions already in the fiscal pipeline to states to implement the health insurance market reforms, whether or not there’s a federal government shutdown. Thus, their posturing, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s latest bill for complete defunding and his Tuesday filibuster, needs to be seen as the old cliché it is: a desperate measure for their desperate times. 

 What’s scaring Republicans is that the president’s most significant domestic initiative is about to hit prime time. Starting October 1, it is poised to start delivering on its central promise, which is giving millions of Americans more and cheaper choices to buy health insurance."



"Is there an example in American history of a losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement its rejected agenda?"  --Jonathan Chait, via Andrew Sullivan's blog 




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tedfoolery!





WTH?


Senator Ted Cruz just voted against himself!

His 21 hours of performing a fake filibuster, reading Green Eggs and Ham, and vowing to fight Obamacare to the bitter end was nothing more than a Tedfoolery grandstanding ego maniacal show for one purpose only: 

To get people to look at him.  

Well we looked, and we laughed.  

Ted, you crazy bastid! What was all that promising to go until you dropped about? 

You dropped, all right!



Nothing quite embodies Tea Party Principles like a Cuban, Canadian born Anchor baby Ivy League educated elitist Lawyer who talks a big game and delivers NOTHING! 


Ted Cruz just voted against himself 

Senate votes 100-0 to avoid a partial govt shutdown There’s nothing more fun than watching a politician smack himself upside the head. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TalksAlot) spent more than 21 straight hours raging against any government funding for Obamacare, and included a reading of Green Eggs and Ham, Duck Dynasty and Atlas Shrugged. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joined the other 99 senators from both parties in voting Wednesday to move ahead on a spending plan to fund the government. 

Meaning, his ego-feeding speech was just an ego-feeding speech. partial government shutdown next week can be amended by Senate Democrats to restore funding for President Obama’s signature health care law, which had been eliminated last week by House Republicans. 

So the 42 times Republicans, and I’m including Cruz’s non-filibuster, to eradicate Obamacare, have simply been an immense waste of time and money. The AP reports, “The shutdown issue is a particularly haunting one for Republicans, some of whom were in Congress two decades ago when the GOP suffered politically as the result of a pair of government closures in the winter of 1995-1996.” 

To reiterate what’s happened since Cruz took to the Senate floor for his 21 hour fakeibuster, he said he would speak in opposition to Obamacare until he could not stand. 

An hour later, he took a break. His grandstanding efforts were simply a means to rail against President Obama, and in the end, he voted against himself.




Ted Cruz Embarrasses Himself and His Party




UPDATE BELOW




What is Texas Senator Ted Cruz trying to do except make a fool of himself and waste tax payers' money on his futile mission to defund the ACA?

As part of Texas's Congressional delegation, he is surely aware of how inadequately his home state has addressed the shame of having so many of his fellow Texans uninsured.  Yet, instead of working to remedy that disgrace and help those who need it the most, Cruz chose to grandstand and do all in his narcissistic power to make uninsured Americans' lives even more miserable than they already are.

We've seen these sorts of characters in American politics before, but the American public tires of them and rejects them once their circus performances are over. And how else can we describe these actions by this particular clownish senator from Texas, who compared the ACA to Nazism?  And who claimed that his mission to overturn it is comparable to JFK's putting a man on the moon?

Grandiosity, hubris, and just plain stupidity is a trait that runs deep in American politics, and Ted Cruz is the epitome of all three.  






The Embarrassment of Senator Ted Cruz


Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the public face of the aimless and self-destructive Tea Party strategy to stop health care reform, began an endless floor speech on Tuesday with the theme of “make D.C. listen.”

But even his Republican colleagues had long since stopped paying attention to his corrosive bombast, tired of his pious insults to his own party and unimpressed with his eagerness to shut down the government in pursuit of an ideological dream. 

Like hard-liners in the far right corner of the House, Mr. Cruz has grabbed for every possible lever in his campaign against President Obama’s health law, fully aware that he will not succeed but eager for the accolades and donations that will inevitably follow from the Tea Party’s misguided faithful. In the process, he has demonstrated how little he understands Senate rules and, more important, how little he appreciates the public’s desire for a collaborative Congress.







Here's what Ted Cruz and his fellow TeaPublicans are REALLY afraid of:


Tennessee's health insurance rates among lowest in U.S. on new exchanges

And this:


Government Releases Obamacare Premium Levels for 36 More States



UPDATE BY MATTHEW YGLESIAS

"What Ted Cruz Doesn't Understand About Green Eggs and Ham"
"As part of his fake filibuster today, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) read aloud the text of Dr. Seuss's book Green Eggs and Ham. It's a strange choice of author for a conservative senator. Admittedly, Green Eggs and Ham lacks the overt left-wing politics of a Butter Battle Book or The Lorax but this is still a progressive book. In broad strokes, it's a book advocating openness to experience—one of the key moral dimensions on which liberals and conservatives differ.
In the specific context of the health care debate, though, I'm reminded of Nancy Pelosi's much-mocked remark that "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
What she was expressing was the idea that while the health reform bill may not have been popular, the health reform law would prove popular in practice once it was in effect. People would like their subsidies and their regulatory protections, and wouldn't want to see them repealed. She was making, specificaly, a kind of Green Eggs and Ham argument. The narrator keeps insisting that he hates green eggs and ham, but he's neverhad green eggs and ham. When he finally tries them—he likes them!
The Democrats' bet on the Affordable Care Act is that it's like green eggs and ham—they're convinced the public will like it when they try it.
Conservatives like Cruz claim that this is wrong. That Americans will taste the green eggs and ham and they're going to hate it. But their actions speak otherwise. They're desperate to repeal the law before it's implemented."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Unhealthy, Hungry States




Why do the red states that are run by conservative governments fail their citizens?  These 10 conservative states have the hungriest in their population:

1.  Mississippi
2.  Arkansas
3.  Texas
4.  Alabama
5.  North Carolina
6.  Georgia
7.  Missouri
8.  Nevada
9.  Tennessee
10. Ohio


The recent vote by Republicans in the House to slash funds to SNAP will affect the poorest in the poorest states--those states run by Republican governors and/or legislatures.  Why would the GOP do that to their own constituents?


The states with the lowest food security, not surprisingly, are among the poorest in the country. In all 10 states, the median household income was less than the national median of $50,502. In Mississippi and Arkansas, the two worst states for food security, median income was less than $40,000. Of the 10 states with the lowest food security, eight had the highest poverty rates in the country. 

 Ross Fraser, spokesperson for hunger-relief charity Feeding America, explained that having low food security does not necessarily mean families are starving. While people may feel full after eating, nutritious food is expensive. “Often, people have to make unfortunate choices about what they put in their stomachs.” Fraser added. 

 Indeed, according to a 2012 Gallup-Healthways survey, people in nine of the 10 states were less likely to eat healthily on a daily basis than the nation as a whole. Missouri and Tennessee were third and second worst in the country by this measure. 

 It may surprise some that, in fact, the majority of the 10 states with food access problems have higher-than-average obesity rates. Mississippi and Arkansas had the second and third highest obesity rates in the country in 2012. 

“The lack of healthy food among families in these states,” explained Fraser, “is one of the reasons you have very poor people who are obese. It is because they’re not able to afford nutritious and high protein food.”

More here.

If conservatives believe conservatism is the better of the two political ideologies, why do the conservative red states come in as the poorest, the hungriest, and the least educated in studies?

Also, while we're looking at stats, the states that promote abstinence only programs to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies are failing as well:

Abstinence-only education does not lead to abstinent behavior, UGA researchers find


"...prescribed abstinence-only education in public schools does not lead to abstinent behavior," said David Hall, second author and assistant professor of genetics in the Franklin College. "It may even contribute to the high teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. compared to other industrialized countries." 


Along with teen pregnancy rates and sex education methods, Hall and Stanger-Hall looked at the influence of socioeconomic status, education level, access to Medicaid waivers and ethnicity of each state's teen population.

 Even when accounting for these factors, which could potentially impact teen pregnancy rates, the significant relationship between sex education methods and teen pregnancy remained: the more strongly abstinence education is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rates.

 "Because correlation does not imply causation, our analysis cannot demonstrate that emphasizing abstinence causes increased teen pregnancy. However, if abstinence education reduced teen pregnancy as proponents claim, the correlation would be in the opposite direction," said Stanger-Hall.

 The paper indicates that states with the lowest teen pregnancy rates were those that prescribed comprehensive sex and/or HIV education, covering abstinence alongside proper contraception and condom use.

States whose laws stressed the teaching of abstinence until marriage were significantly less successful in preventing teen pregnancies."

States with ‘abstinence-only’ sex ed programs rank highest in teen pregnancies


"A study has shown that while the U.S. is currently enjoying a steady decline in the number of teen pregnancies, states with sex ed and health classes that stress “abstinence-only” education rank the highest in the numbers of underage pregnancies, according to a post at Think Progress.

 The current rate of teen pregnancies, about 35 per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19, is the lowest on record since the CDC began to track these statistics in 1940. The CDC attributes the improvement to pregnancy prevention efforts and education.

 However, 37 states currently mandate that all sex education include information on abstinence, 26 of whom insist that abstinence be taught as the main method of pregnancy prevention.

 Studies have indicated that abstinence-only programs may end up deterring contraceptive use among teens who do have sex, whereas teenagers who have been taught a comprehensive sex ed curriculum are “60 percent less likely” to become pregnant or get someone else pregnant.

Additionally, a 2007 federal study indicated that abstinence-only education ultimately had “no impacts ” at all on rates of sexual abstinence. 


 The two states with the highest rates of teen pregnancies are Mississippi and New Mexico. 

 Neither state requires that sex ed be taught in schools. 

 Mississippi law stipulates that when sexual education is taught, that abstinence be the main method of contraception proscribed by educators, whereas New Mexico has no rules about reproductive health criteria at all. 

 The state with the lowest rate of teen pregnancies is New Hampshire, which requires comprehensive sex ed in schools that includes information about condoms and other forms of birth control in addition to abstinence."


***************

Willful ignorance is not a remedy for out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and cutting back on needed funds for feeding needy Americans is not a way to get people out of what the GOOPers call a comfortable hammock to find work. It's difficult to do anything when you and your family are hungry.

One wonders what sort of values the so-called "American Values Party" really promotes when it turns a blind eye to our most vulnerable citizens and when it pretends that abstinence only programs will prevent more hungry babies from being born into more poor families.

The Shrill One weighs in on this subject.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

GOP to Veterans: EFF YOU! GO HUNGRY!



The party that fetishizes veterans, that worships military duty, that calls every man and woman who serves his or her country a "hero," has voted to demean their heroes and let them go hungry.

You read that right.

We saner folk know, of course, that the GOP's posturing is all show and zero substance, and another manifestation of their fake patriotism, which was demonstrated this past week when the Republicans in the House voted to slash the SNAP program.  Hundreds of thousands of our veterans--you know, the folks who defend our freedoms here and abroad, the ones who lay down their lives so that GOP Congresscreeps can charge their lavish dinners to the government while they travel in the U.S. and abroad on "fact-finding missions"--millions of those men and women depend on the SNAP program.  Yeah, those GOP hypocrites, who never saw a program for the needy in this country that they didn't hate and that they didn't go after, pretending it would save the tax payers millions of dollars and make those lazy, undeserving moochers who want free stuff, our veterans, get off their lazy asses and find a job!

Those are Republican values:  Slash needed programs to feed our veterans and their families (and millions of other struggling Americans), while pretending they support our troops.




From the daily kos:


Thursday's House vote to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years proved, once again, that when the Republican drive to demonize poor people comes into conflict with the supposed Republican reverence for veterans, demonizing poor people wins. 

The bill would kick 170,000 veterans off of food stamps, out of around 900,000 veterans in the program. Republican rhetoric was that the food stamp-slashing bill would continue food assistance for the virtuous poor—children, seniors, disabled people, employed people—and only cut assistance for able-bodied adults who don't want to work, preferring to live high on the hog off of their average benefit of around $4 a day. 

That's false in ways almost too numerous to count: 


  • The bill contains no provisions for people who can't find work in an economy where there are three jobseekers for every available job. 



  • Republicans claimed unemployed people could fulfill the bill's work requirements by turning to job training programs, yet many people don't have access to job training programs and the bill did not fund them. 



  • The bill would kick 2.1 million mostly working or elderly people out of SNAP by eliminating expanded categorical eligibility. On paper, these people's income or assets are above the SNAP threshold even though, in reality, they face significant expenses like child care in order to keep working, bringing them below the threshold: 


A typical working family that qualifies for SNAP due to categorical eligibility consists of a mother with two young children who has monthly earnings just above the program’s monthly gross income limit ($2,069 for a family of three in 2013). On average, the families above that limit who qualify for SNAP as a result of categorical eligibility have combined child care and rent costs thatexceed half of their wages. The approximately $100 per month in SNAP benefits they receive covers about one-fourth to one-fifth of their monthly food budget.

From the Military and Foreign Affairs Journal "Veterans Today:"


Hardest Hit by Proposed Food Stamp Cuts? Veterans and Active Military 


The prejudices against those who desperately need food stamps and other supportive programs are rampant. However, what the Huffington Post report uncovered is that a surprising group of hardworking Americans rely on food stamps. This group will undoubtedly change the face of what the average American thinks of what a food stamp recipient looks like as well as the trajectory of the food stamp funding battle. 

Veterans and active duty service members are one of the largest growing populations that need assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a financial assistance program provided by the federal government that allows struggling families to purchase food. According to data compiled by the Huffington Post, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP. 

The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help. 

Compounding the issue further is that many veterans who recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan may also have returned with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from working or continuing their service. As of 2011, more than 46 million Americans received food stamps.


Food stamp use at military commissaries up sharply in four years



My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. 

My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I've never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan. 

 Oh, and I'm now on food stamps. 

Since June, as a matter of fact. 

Why am I on food stamps? 

 The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving. I mean, if that's okay with you: 


  •  Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. Conservative commentator. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. "welfare queen" letter-to-the-editor author. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. "fiscal conservative, reason-based" libertarian. 




Remember this outrage the next time you hear a loud-mouthed hypocritical Republican thanks one of America's military heroes.  Remember that it's only lip-service that the posturing Republican is giving to the man or woman whose real service defended our freedoms and is now struggling to feed him/herself and family.




NOTE TO TROLLS:  We know very well that the increase in the use of food stamps happened during President Obama's administration.  

We also know that the GOP has obstructed programs and initiatives President Obama has offered to alleviate the problem.

When President Obama has nothing but an obstructive opposition party to work with and whose only political goal is to sabotage his presidency, there's no possible way to help those in need.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AMERICA'S IRRATIONAL RELATIONSHIP TO GUNS










The usual knee-jerk reaction to calls for background checks and limiting sales of some weapons can be found on the usual Howl-of-the-Wolf-type conservative/libertarian blogs, where any sort of proposed sensible regulation is likened to a government take-over of Mom, Apple Pie, and My Beautiful 2nd-Amendment Right To Buy a Rocket Launcher of My Very Own If I G-D Want To.

These irrational nutters who see no correlation between the highest number of deaths by firearms (U.S.A.) and the country with the most firearms in circulation (U.S.A.) continue to pretend that there is absolutely nothing we exceptional Americans can do to make our military facilities, our grammar schools, our high schools, our movie theaters, our places of worship, our shopping malls, our inner cities, and our homes safe.  They are willfully blind to the indisputable fact that in countries where gun ownership is restricted or banned, there is the least amount of firearm deaths.  They pretend there is no connection whatsoever in any way, shape, or target form to that truth.

So long as they are responsible gun owners, they believe, there is nothing to be done about the continuing escalation of the massacre of the innocents in this very violent and very gun-crazed country that owes this bloody heritage to the criminal elements in it--the N.R.A. (IMO) and its bought-and-paid-for Congressional lackeys-- Republicans and Democrats.

BTW, these are the same folks who believe, however, that stricter regulations or outright banning of legal abortions WILL STOP all abortions, the slaughter of innocents, in their view.  But stricter gun laws and outright banning of some firearms WILL NOT STOP the slaughter of innocents.  But...but, they'll argue, the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution! (Ignoring the "well REGULATED" part.)
  




***************************




The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010 


"We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides."




America’s Irrational Relationship To Guns




Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker:


"Now, one can get depressed having won an argument without winning a political fight, but that misunderstands the nature of political fights. Once the argument is won—gay marriage is a fine recent example—the action will go with it, sometimes far more quickly than one expects. 

The broken consensus is vulnerable to simple aging, at the very least. There are no more grounds for despair about gun control than there were grounds for despair about the persistence of lynching in the face of the fight against that horror. 

The truth is known, obvious and inarguable. It cannot be said too clearly, and it cannot be said too often: guns make gun violence happen, gun-control laws make it stop. Anyone who says that this is “dubious” or “uncertain” or “as yet undecided” or “up for argument” is a liar or a fool or—well, the third possibility is that he is a true “American exceptionalist”; that is, someone who believes that Americans are so intrinsically, genetically homicidal that the same gun laws that have alleviated violence and ended massacres in Canada and Australia and Great Britain and Europe won’t work here. The only way not to know that is to decide not to know anything. People can do that for a long time, but not forever."




The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited the sale of firearms to several categories of individuals, including persons under eighteen-years of age, those with criminal records, the mentally disabled, unlawful aliens, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others. In 1993, the law was amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandated background checks for all unlicensed persons purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer.
However, critics maintain that a so-called "gun show loophole," codified in the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, effectively allows anyone, including convicted felons, to purchase firearms without a background check.
As of 2013, there were no federal laws banning semi-automatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large capacity ammunition magazines, which can increase the potential lethality of a given firearm. There was a federal prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines between 1994 and 2004, but Congress allowed these restrictions to expire.
source




DEATH BY GUN:  TOP 20 STATES WITH HIGHEST RATES


States With Fewer Gun Laws Are the Most Violent, Study Finds



20 Deadliest Gun States


States with strict gun laws found to have fewer shooting deaths



BOSTON | Thu Mar 7, 2013 3:37pm EST (Reuters) - States that have more laws restricting gun ownership have lower rates of death from shootings, both suicides and homicides, a study by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University found. States with the most laws on gun ownership, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, have 42 percent lower rates of death from guns than those with the least restrictions, including Utah and Oklahoma, according to the study, published on Wednesday in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.


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What more do the people who ignore these facts need to read and internalize before they can see that MORE GUNS = MORE GUN DEATHS?

The question now is "What will we rational Americans do about it?"  

I am not ready to give up, even if the thugs in the N.R.A., who do not listen to their own constituents on background checks and do all in their greasy power to halt any kind of sensible check on our irrational gun culture, even if they hope people like me do.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Michigan GOP: We Have the Right to Regulate Your Sexual Relationships




Incredibly, the party that bellows the loudest about keeping government out of our lives is at it again, trying to insert the government into our most private and personal activities.

What is it about the GOP and its pols that make them so hot to regulate what consenting adults do with each other's reproductive parts?

These are the same folks who are apoplectically against the government making sure that American citizens have the opportunity to afford health care, but who happily propose all sorts of initiatives that are none of their business.

I'm betting we won't see anything about this government intrusion on the usual conservative blogs [see, this isn't about sodas and firearms], because this latest absurdity doesn't fit their narrative that the GOP is a freedom-loving, anti-intrusive government party.  Of course we know it is nothing of the sort.  

When it comes to women's bodies and sexual relationships, the GOP is right up there with other repressive groups telling everyone what they can or cannot do with their bodies, and they are shameless about their hypocrisy.


"On September 9, 2013 Attorneys for the state of Michigan filed paperwork in District Court asserting the state’s right to “regulate sexual relationships.” 

The court filing is in response to a civil action filed earlier this by Plaintiff  Deboer. Deboer filed a suit against the state’s unconstitutional same sex marriage ban, which denies same sex couples the right to marry or to adopt children. 

In the state’s response, filed on behalf of Republican Governor Rick Snyder, the Michigan attorney general claims: “One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan — and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman — is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.” 

 Far from being a casual statement made off the cuff, this is a statement that has been carefully crafted by the state’s attorneys, and undoubtedly reflects the position held by [Republican Governor] Snyder ['s] administration."



This is what a TeaPublican-run country would look like: Tax-cuts forever for the 1%, no universal health care--the end of providing food stamps for the hungry--the hell with the middle class and the poor--no marriage equality, reinstituting DADT, strict regulation of sexual relationships for everyone--especially you homos!, and tattooed, AR-15-toting blondes with large hooters representing our American values! 

Here he is -- Mr. America, by Capt. Fogg of The Swash Zone



One of the Captain's finest:



 Here he is - Mr. America



Racism? Just like those liberals to think that "American Values" are racist, says Fox jerk Todd Starnes; and after all, it was only 'politically correct' judges that enabled a dark skinned American woman of East Indian descent to win the Miss America contest over someone with real American values, like blond hair and big tits. American womanhood as traditionally seen by pageant judges always has been typified by tattooed Army Sergeants, hasn't it? If that isn't true American womanhood, perhaps those judges will choose a man next.

 "Americans were backing Miss Kansas -- but the liberal Miss America judges were not interested in a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran." said Tiny Todd on his Facebook page on Sunday. Americans -- Americans who can't tell the difference between Indians, Arabs, and Muslims but are sure that to be an American; to have American values means TBBT: you're tall and blond and have big tits. 

"Americans" (that being Todd) were backing Theresa Vail and I'm sure many were, even though most Americans I would venture have as little interest in this cattle call as I do -- even though tattoos make me cringe even on male Army Sergeants, she was a fine candidate and for all I know a fine person.


If that's what the repulsive troglodyte from the caves of Fox likes, that's his privilege - de gustibus and all that, but for those of us who don't have a problem calling an American citizen, born and raised a 'real' American if they don't have 100% European ancestry; even for those of us who might actually consider an Indian or Chinese or Middle Eastern or, God forbid, African woman attractive and intelligent and talented and worthy to represent "American Values" -- for us Nina Davuluri is a fine choice and a real All-American girl.

Smug racist assholes like Starnes and the Network he rode in on don't, needless to say, represent any values, much less American ones I'd respect, or even tolerate -- or even refrain from punishing with extreme prejudice and considerable violence given the chance. But I've been around long enough to know there isn't anything to be done about convincing these people. No dispassionate analysis, no baseball bat will make these people see non-European people as anything but a threat to their imaginary "values." As Max Plank once said, the truth does not triumph by making its opponents see the light, but because they eventually die.

So if we're unable to stop hoping for some new America that gives more than lip service to its principles while festering like a cesspool of hate and stupidity and bellicose self-aggrandizement, perhaps we should hope and pray that Fox falls into some lake of fire, that the earth opens up and swallows Todd Starnes like the foul and fetid carcass of the loathsome creature he is, so every good and true and righteous person can piss on his grave. 

Posted by Capt. Fogg at The Swash Zone, Tuesday, September 17, 2013


From The Daily Beaste:  "MIss America, Meet India's "Dark" Side.





IS MISS AMERICA A SECRET MUSLIM TERRORIST????





Stephen Colbert covered this story, too:




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What You Don't Know About Health Care In America


UPDATE ON DC SHOOTING BELOW:


UPDATE 2 ON GOP OBSTRUCTION ON OBAMACARE BELOW:










UPDATE:


Will The Navy Yard Shooting Reignite The Gun Law Conversation?


ANSWER:

NO!  

NOT IN THE N.R.A. STATES OF AMERICA.




UPDATE 2 -- OBAMACARE:
Obama Slams Republicans For Promising Economic Chaos If They Don't Get What They Want


"You have some Republicans in the House of Representatives who are promising to shut down the government at the end of this month if they can’t shut down the Affordable Care Act. And if that scheme doesn’t work, some have suggested they won’t pay the very bills that Congress has already run up, which would cause America to default on its debt for the first time in our history and would create massive economic turmoil. Interest rates on ordinary people would shoot up. Those kinds of actions are the kinds of actions that we don’t need.
The last time the same crew threatened this course of action back in 2011 even the mere suggestion of default slowed our economic growth. Everybody here remembers that. It wasn’t that long ago.
Now, keep in mind, initially, the whole argument was we’re going to do this because we want to reduce our debt. That doesn’t seem to be the focus now. Now the focus is on Obamacare. So let’s put this in perspective. The Affordable Care Act has been the law for three and a half years now. It passed both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was an issue in last year’s election and the candidate who called for repeal lost. (Applause.) Republicans in the House have tried to repeal or sabotage it about 40 times. They’ve failed every time.
Meanwhile, the law has already helped millions of Americans — young people who were able to stay on their parents’ plan up until the age of 26; seniors who are getting additional discounts on their prescription drugs; ordinary families and small businesses that are getting rebates from insurance companies because now insurance companies have to actually spend money on people’s care instead of on administrative costs and CEO bonuses."