Dec 272013
 

It is popular among the young today to say they are Libertarian, because Libertarians are typically anti-war and pro-marijuana legalization.  Sadly, most who identify with libertarianism do not realize that it is usually just a front for Republican InsaniTEA.  Here is an article that projects some key Libertarian assumptions forward, so you can see the dystopias that would result.

1227LibertarianThese four libertarian/conservative dystopias are offered, as Rod Serling used to say in "The Twilight Zone," "for your consideration."…

1. What if you cut all benefits?

You’ve heard it from Sen. Rand Paul and other conservatives this winter: unemployment benefits increase unemployment. It’s an enormously destructive idea, though absurd on its face. It’s like the argument that hospitals create sick people; after all, there are so many of them there.

We usually consider such thinking "primitive" in modern societies.

Yet that’s exactly what libertarian/conservatives are arguing when they say that unemployment benefits increased or extend unemployment. There is no credible evidence to suggest that this is true. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that unemployment is caused by other factors, including poor consumer demand and lack of business confidence.

Right now there are nearly three job seekers for every job opening. That means there are no jobs available for two out of the three. They will not “go out and find work” once their unemployment benefits stop. They will simply plunge into deeper economic misery. They will become like accident victims who are denied hospital care because it would “foster an attitude of dependency.”

But, as absurd and unkind as this thinking is, there’s something even more frightening about it: This kind of thinking never ends. If you believe that unemployment benefits cause unemployment, you’ll cut those benefits off. That could throw millions of people onto the welfare rolls. But if you believe that welfare causes dependency, you’ll cut those benefits off, too. That will leave people utterly dependent on programs like heating oil subsidies, food assistance, and even homeless shelters.

But if you believe that those programs create dependency, too….

It never stops: Close down the homeless shelters. Shut down the Salvation Army. Make it illegal to throw a starving person a coin or toss a blanket over them as they lay on the sidewalk. This logic only ends one way: in a hellish dystopia where the underclass is starving, homeless and dying in droves.

If that seems melodramatic, ask a libertarian/conservative this question: When will you know that your theory is wrong?…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have given you just one of the four scenarios that the article presents, so I urge you to click through for the other three.  While Libertarianism talks of individual rights above all, they ignore the consequences of situations in which the rights of one person or group impinge on the rights of others.  When they do, Republicans call it freedom.  I call it InsaniTEA.

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Nov 082013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am sufficiently ill that I had to cancel my interview this morning with Trimet’s Disability Specialist for lift bus access when going to my distant doctor.  This will be tomorrow’s only article, and I doubt I shall be able to reply to comments.  I feel as pictured in today’s cartoon.

Jig Zone:

Today’s took me 4:38 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: I Couldn’t Be More Impressed By A Group Of Students Cutting Class

If your express goal was to totally destroy public education and cheat hundreds of thousands of kids out of a decent future, I think your plan would look a lot like this one. So take note, evil overloads around America!

The whole "money" thing gets put into brilliant perspective at 1:45, but then the incredible stories and disturbing figures just keep coming. Starting at 6:00, you’ll see that at least somebody cares about this issue … but can you guess who’s fighting the hardest for students’ futures?

 

Our Schools Are Not For Sale from Media Mobilizing Project TV on Vimeo.

This is the Republican War on Education in action. Stupid voters are more manageable sheeple. It’s not just the leaders. Every Republican must go

From YouTube: Rachel Maddow – Corporate cash sways voters on GMO foods

 

The reasons these corporate liars gave are not the real reasons. The real reason is much more simple than that. If more people knew what is in their products, or how their products were processed, more people would buy less of those products.

From Right Wing Watch: Conservative talk show host Steve Deace spent yesterday talking with Michael Peroutka of the Institute on the Constitution, and asked Peroutka what he thought of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Deace called “the single greatest threat to religious liberty.” After Deace ironically cited the Pilgrims as champions of religious freedom, Peroutka called ENDA an attempt in “federalizing perversion” that is unconstitutional…just like all civil rights laws.

Peroutka is a leader [Sedition delinked]and board member [Sedition delinked] of the white separatist League of the South, so his opposition to civil rights laws come as no surprise.

 

I guess these Republicans are not content to deprive LGTB of their rights. They would extend the deprivation to all minorities.

Cartoon:

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Nov 052013
 

As the time grows near for the senate vote to break the Republican filibuster against ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), it appears likely that just enough Republicans will join the Democrats to clear the 60 vote cloture hurdle.  Now that passage in the Senate appears likely, Republicans are trying to water it down.  Fortunately, my Senator, Jeff Merkley is leading the fight to keep ENDA whole.

1105JEFF-MERKLEYAs backers of the Employment Non-Discrimation Act hustle to round up extra support before an expected vote Monday evening, there are murmurs that the bill would be more palatable to Republican senators if it didn’t include protections for transgender individuals.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), for example, stated last week that he would only consider supporting a bill that was not fully inclusive.

But Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the leader of the effort to pass ENDA in the Senate and the man who introduced the legislation in the current Congress, said that’s not happening.

"I have fought for fully inclusive legislation in Oregon. I knew that fully inclusive legislation had worked very well in the states that had adopted it, and I thought it would just be wrong to leave any particular group behind on this," he told The Huffington Post in an interview.

ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

I could not be more proud of my Senator, or more pleased to have worked on his campaign in 2008.  He needs all the help[ he can get, because the Koch Brothers have him high on their target list.  Because of him and others, Oregon leads the way!

Unfortunately ENDA will likely die in the House without a vote, because Agent Orange, aka Mr. Two Inch, just announced his opposition.

So, Log Cabin Republicans, it’s time move out of those log cabins and dump the party that hates you.

UPDATE: ENDA survived cloture to bring it to the floor.

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Nov 052013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and trying to get my body clock adjusted.  I hope that you are all having a fantastic week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 4:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: President Obama has imperiled his second term by lying to the American people, one of the nation’s foremost lying experts said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The accusation carried weight, observers said, coming as it did from a legendary figure in the high-stakes world of competitive lying.

He was harshly critical of Mr. Obama’s fibbing, calling it “amateurish at best,” contrasting the President’s lack of lying experience with his own half-century of dishonesty.

“The American people deserve a President who is a world-class liar,” he said. “Sadly, they do not have that President.” …

Little Lord Willard, aka Rmoney, certainly was the world champion at etching his sketch.

From NY Times: Few topics in American society have more myths and stereotypes surrounding them than poverty, misconceptions that distort both our politics and our domestic policy making.

They include the notion that poverty affects a relatively small number of Americans, that the poor are impoverished for years at a time, that most of those in poverty live in inner cities, that too much welfare assistance is provided and that poverty is ultimately a result of not working hard enough. Although pervasive, each assumption is flat-out wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high. My research indicates that nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period ($23,492 for a family of four), and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line).

Most of us fall on hard times, at one time or another, and the Republican recession makes this more true now than at other times . Republicans like to couch the safety net as takers taking from makers, but that is just projection.   They are describing their own welfare for the 0.1%, because we are the makers, and they are the takers. The safety net is us helping us, and we should.

From Truthdig: A new oil reservoir holding as many as 3.5 billion barrels was discovered directly beneath the 1948 armistice line that formally divides Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel has moved the border to get access to the well. Will Palestinians get a cut?

I think they will… right under the chin, unfortunately.

Cartoon:

1105Cartoon

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Jun 242013
 

I’m writing early.  Tomorrow will be day 10.  The battle continues.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:56 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The most shameful achievement of the House Republican majority has been the elimination of $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending through 2022, which has already held back the economy from substantial growth and done real damage to people and communities that depend on government dollars. The widespread pain caused by this year’s sequester is the best-known aspect of these cuts, but caps that will continue to limit virtually every program for nine more years will also be extremely harmful.

Republicans, though, still aren’t satisfied, and are continuing their campaign to radically reshape Washington’s relationship to the country. The 2014 spending bills now emerging from the House Appropriations Committee are worse than in any previous year and would make some programs and departments unrecognizable…

…House Republicans, of course, have decided to exceed the caps for their favorite programs. They want to give the Pentagon a 5.4 percent increase — $26 billion it doesn’t need — along with a 3.3 percent raise to Homeland Security. To pay for that, and still shrink the budget, they are demanding severe cuts from spending bills for which they have little use: nearly 19 percent out of the labor, health and education bill; 15 percent from the financial services oversight bill; 14 percent from the interior and environment bill; and 11 percent from the energy and water bill.

Those percentages, just to be clear, represent cuts below this year’s already ruinous sequester levels… [emphasis added]

That is Republican class warfare: more for greed, NOTHING for need!

From MSNBC: A Biology 101 Lesson for Republicans

 

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LOL! This is hilarious! Sadly it will have little effect, because even Republican skientists don’t believe science is real.

From Huffington Post: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said he thought House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) might be at risk of losing his leadership role because of the battle over immigration.

During an appearance on Fox News Thursday [ReichsNoise delinked]with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), host Sean Hannity asked if either Gohmert or King would consider challenging Boehner’s speakership if he chooses to push a controversial immigration bill through the House…

As much as I hate to side with Agent Orange on anything, with Louie ‘Go-Go Goose-step’ Gohmert as Speaker for a month, we would not have a country to win back.

Cartoon:

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Jun 012013
 

Yesterday there seemed to be an unwritten law: TC will get no sleep.  My plan was to catch up on sleep, but every time I fell asleep, I was awakened by a UPS delivery, an unexpected visit from a volunteer, a telephone call from my podiatrist to remind me of my appointment Monday, a phone call from my O2 provider to schedule an oxygen saturation test, and the list goes on.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

today’s took me 3:13 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Republicans are doing their best to persuade Americans that the Affordable Care Act will drive health insurance premiums so high that consumers will experience “rate shock.” That fear-provoking tale seems much less credible now that the rates proposed by health insurers for individual coverage on the new health care exchanges have been made public in several states. For the most part, the premiums will increase only slightly or even decrease for individuals and family coverage on the exchanges, electronic marketplaces in which consumers choose among a variety of plans with differing benefits and costs.

The reported rates are in states that have elected to run their own exchanges, which are set to start enrolling people in October for coverage that begins in January 2014. Many states with Republican governors have refused to set up exchanges and have left that task to the Obama administration. In 19 states where the exchanges will be entirely run by the federal government, more health insurance companies are entering the markets and injecting competition that should help hold down costs, the administration said on Thursday. Premiums are subject to many competing pressures, but, in several states, competition appears to be offsetting factors that might push rates up.

In California, officials announced last week that 13 insurers were awarded contracts to sell policies on the state’s health care exchanges next year. The companies submitted bids, which came in much lower than virtually all experts and actuaries had forecast…

When Republicans first started making this claim, before ObamaCare had even become the law, largely because of two things. First companies have to submit bids and be accepted to even offer their products on an exchange, replacing collusion with competition. And second companies are required to spend 80% of premiums collected on benefits. These pluses for US customers make Republicans all the more frantic to spread lies about ObamaCare.

From The New Yorker: In the latest scandal to rock the Obama Administration, a leading Republican congressman accused the President today of using his position to obtain free government housing for himself and his family.

According to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Mr. Obama “has arrogantly exploited the office of President to gain access to a fifty-five-thousand-square-foot residence that could double as a museum.”

“While the average American is struggling to pay his bills, President Obama is living in a luxury home, adorned with priceless paintings and antiques as far as the eye can see,” Rep. Ryan alleged.

Additionally, the Wisconsin congressman said, the President has availed himself of “sumptuous free meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—all on the taxpayer’s nickel.”…

Dang! I’m sure no white Republican President would even dream of committing such a vile act! ;-)

From YouTube: Bill Maher – New Rules – 5/31/2013

 

Despite the obvious irreverent hilarity, he made an excellent point about the failure of Democrats to embrace a natural issue for us. After over 30 years, I have no desire to start using it again, but I see it as a nonviolent activity that could become a valuable source of tax revenue instead of a harmful distraction to law enforcement and a far too expensive contributor to the shameful condition that the US incarcerates the highest percentage of our citizens in the world.

Cartoon:

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May 242013
 

24OSpeech

Photo credit: Rolling Stone

My expectations for Barack Obama’s speech yesterday were guarded at best, given the deficits in his transparency to date.  I was pleasantly surprised.  To begin, here is the complete video of the speech, or, if you prefer, the complete text of the speech is here.

On the use of drones, I mostly agree with him.  While innocent people have been killed in drone strikes, the odds are very high that more innocent people would be killed in a strike with conventional bombs or a ground attack by infantry.  I support requiring a court to authorize drone strikes.  I also support transferring control of drone operations from the CIA to the military.  Frankly, the CIA spends far too much effort in field operations.  The more of their resources they spend on operations, the less effective they have become at their main purpose, intelligence gathering.  That puts us all at greater risk.

On Guantanamo Bay, I think these steps are all he can do without Congress.  The prison there would have been closed years ago, had Congress not intervened to prevent it.

Chris Hayes discussed the speech with Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I particularly liked Obama’s willingness to give back power. I do not remember seeing any other President do so.

I found Medea Benjamin from Code Pink both rude and offensive.  Her tactics were worthy of the Republican Party.  She used a technique called piling on or dump trucking.  It involves evading honest communication with a barrage of so many different complaints and accusations that the other person cab not reasonably answer all at once.  I am very familiar with it, because it is one of the ‘criminal thinking errors’ that I teach prisoners to recognize and avoid using.  I have never seen a President stop to give a protester an opportunity to have an honest dialogue in the middle of a major speech.   She blew it! She was not interested in that, and that is a shame.

All things considered, I thought it was one of Obama’s most effective speeches ever.  How those ideas are transformed to action remains to be seen.  Of one thing we can be sure.  The Republican Party will do everything possible to sabotage his efforts.

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