It’s a lazy day, and I’m waiting for a friend to bring a few things from home. When released, I will be going back to the old place and will continue the hunt for a new one from there. For now,we’re looking at a target of Thursday.
Here’s the plan. Today I’ll make the rounds of sites where I share our articles and clean out message boxes, and then, will try to hit the ground running tomorrow. I’m current with replies to comments on yesterday’s Open Thread, as I don’t want to overtire myself by going way back. Keep your fingers crossed.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’;s took me 3:05 (average 4:30). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The New Yorker: The National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre today defended his decision to purchase the former congressman Asa Hutchinson, after an outspoken N.R.A. member complained that the organization should be using its funds to buy current congressmen only.
Shortly after Mr. Hutchinson appeared at a press conference in Washington to present the N.R.A.’s plan to arm teachers and other school personnel, N.R.A. dissident Tracy Klugian blasted the purchase of the former Arkansas representative.
“Members of the N.R.A. fork over millions of dollars to this organization,” he said. “That money should be used to buy people who are actually in Congress now, not some has-been like Hutchinson who doesn’t even have a vote anymore.”…
Isn't it quite Republican that the fiction against them is not as bad as the truth? These Republican massacre mongers just make up their own facts… as usual.
From Huffington Post: North Carolina state Rep. Carl Ford backs a religion bill that would allow the state to declare an official state faith.
Is it any wonder that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians do not believe that elections have consequences, when they refuse to acknowledge that the Constitution and the Civil War have consequences?
From MSNBC: Rachel shared the latest fronts in the ongoing Republican War on Women.
Keep your kids inside, and make your dawgs wear chastity belts! The craziest of the crazy are now running wild, mindlessly drunk on InsaniTEA. At a zoo, one can normally find a guide to help you understand the animals there, and I have found a guide to the Republicans at CPUKE, who I will not compare to animals out of respect for the animals.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference’s speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.
CPAC 2013: A Rogue’s Gallery Of Smear Merchants …
Ann Coulter, Conservative Author
Coulter: Bill Clinton "Was A Very Good Rapist." During an interview with the New York Observer, Coulter responded to the question, "What should we remember about Bill Clinton?" by saying, "Well, he was a very good rapist. I think that should not be forgotten." [Media Matters, 1/12/05]
Coulter Attacked 9/11 Widows. In her book Godless, Coulter wrote of the women left widowed by the 9/11 attacks: "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much." In a subsequent interview, she referred to the 9/11 widows as "cruel." [Media Matters, 6/8/06, 7/14/06]
At 2007 CPAC, Coulter Referred To John Edwards As A "Faggot." During CPAC in 2007, Coulter said she couldn’t "really talk about" former Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’ " [Media Matters, 6/28/07]…
During the 2012 campaign, Little Lord Willard loved to etch his sketch. Since he was absolutely and irrevocably committed to both sides of every issue,m it could be difficult to tell what he really thought about anything. Some Republicans even floated the rumor that he was really much more moderate than he had to appear for the sake of the extreme Republican base. Then a video tape appeared of him talking to fellow vulture capitalists, when he thought none of the peon classes were listening, and America got to see who he really is. To people like Little Lord Willard, the people who wait on them are virtually invisible, so it never occurred to him that there was a giant in the room, and what he thinks would become public. The man that made that happen is a patriotic hero. His name is Scott Prouty.
…Prior to his political fame, the filmmaker worked as a bartender for a high-end catering company. Before that company was hired for the Romney event, it catered a dinner at which Bill Clinton spoke. The bartender/Romney-ruiner told the Huffington Post that after the speech, Clinton went to the kitchen to thank the staff, posing for photographs and signing autographs.
So when the bartender heard about the Romney event, he decided to bring his camera with him, just in case the candidate met with the staff like Clinton did. But because he’s Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate didn’t greet or thank any of the staff working the event, and rushed out shortly after his speech, though not before bartender secretly filmed it, noting that Romney told the dinner guests it was off the record but not the staff working the event.
But even then, the bartender didn’t have plans to distribute the video, at least not until he heard Romney’s offensive comments. After that, he told the Huffington Post, he had no choice but to leak the video.
"I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn’t sleep after I watched it," he said. "I felt like I had a duty to expose it."
Yesterday I could not sleep. I have no idea why. My COPD was no more severe than normal. Sleep just would not come. The upshot is that I feel exhausted, so I’m posting just this to avoid overtaxing myself. I’m current with replies and should return to normal tomorrow.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 5:25 (average 7:23). To do it click here. How did you do?
From Salem News: America has moved backward over the last half century. There is now representation without taxation, which is the opposite of the founding philosophy. What America has now is a culture where a few thousand people control the political and corporate worlds and are not taxed. Because they control the political process, they have almost entirely freed themselves of a tax burden.
The reality of inequity has become skewed beyond recognition, and preventing more equity is the mission of the Republican Party.
From NY Times: What’s really needed is a new act that makes access to the polls a universal American right. The Voting Rights Act remains necessary to prevent continuing racial discrimination, but bringing lawsuits under Section 2 of the act (which applies to the entire country and is not being challenged) is enormously difficult and costly. Preliminary injunctions to stop discriminatory election practices outside covered areas are rarely granted.
Racial prejudice was the principal target of the 1965 act, but the partisans who control so many state election systems have often gone beyond race in their attempts to rig voting to their advantage. Voter ID laws that impose a burden on students, the elderly or the poor, for example, should become as presumptively illegal as racial burdens are now. So should registration systems that make it harder for immigrants or non-English speakers to get on the rolls, or districts gerrymandered for political gain.
A country that takes pride in its democratic system should provide all voters with basic voting standards. Though Ms. Miller and other Republicans seem to think that federal mandates “would disrupt our already well-run system of elections” in the states, millions of voters have experienced something very different. Solving that problem is as urgent now as it was 50 years ago.
I could not agree more.
From MSNBC: Ed Schultz covered the same Republican hate that I did Sunday.
In negotiations between Obama and Republicans for a grand budget bargain, chained CPI appears to be back on that table. I explained chained CPI last month. In short, it is a method of calculating the increases in Social Security benefits, as well as benefits for disabled veterans and the families of soldiers killed in action, that offsets increases in the cost of living with decreases in the quality of living. Over time, it is a substantial decrease in the benefits you have earned and are earning by paying your premiums throughout your working lives. Chained CPI is NOT an option! Fortunately, Bernie Sanders, and my fellow Oregonian, Peter DeFazio are leading the opposition to it.
As politicians in Washington discuss proposals to reduce the federal deficit, one of the ideas that keeps coming up is known as the "chained CPI" or consumer price index, a new way to calculate cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security.
This method assumes people will make lower-cost choices to offset any reductions in their Social Security adjustments, said Lisa Lamkins, advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin. However, she added, that doesn’t reflect reality.
"Seniors in particular aren’t able to make lower-cost substitutions for items that they buy," she said, "like prescription drugs and health care."… [emphasis added]
After ten years, annual benefits for current and future seniors, veterans, and military survivors will be hundreds less under chained CPI, by saying that decreases our quality of life are not increases in the cost of living.
Here is Bernie Sanders take on it. I seldom lift an entire article from a website, but in this case, I’m sure Bernie will not mind.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly everyone else already pays.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the companion bill in the House. He joined Sanders at a news conference in the Capitol to discuss their bill to bolster Social Security without raising the retirement age or lowering benefits.
“Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American,” Sanders said. “The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the future is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000 so millionaires and billionaires pay the same share as everyone else.”
Reid said, “I want to thank Sen. Sanders for his outstanding leadership in support of Social Security and the millions of Americans who rely on the program. His legislation should make people think twice before assuming that the only way to strengthen Social Security is to take away benefits that seniors have earned, or raise taxes on the middle class.”
DeFazio added, “Despite the hype, Social Security is not now, and never was, the cause of our deficit. Those spreading these false claims are the same people who have for years been working with Wall Street to privatize the program. We shouldn’t cut benefits or try to balance the budget on the backs of seniors who have earned these benefits. We can just close a tax loophole that allows millionaires and billionaires to pay a lower percentage of their income into Social Security than everyone else.”
In addition to Majority Leader Reid, the Senate measure is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Under their legislation, those with yearly incomes of $250,000 or more would pay the same 6.2 percent payroll tax already assessed on those who earn up to $113,700 a year. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only affect the wealthiest 1.3 percent of Americans, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Social Security officials say that simple change would yield about $85 billion a year to keep the retirement program strong for at least another 50 years.
The legislation is based on a proposal that President Barack Obama made in 2008 during his first campaign for the White House. (Watch the video.)
Since it was signed into law 77 years ago, Social Security has kept millions of senior citizens, widows, widowers, orphans, and the disabled out of poverty. Before Social Security, about half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty and more than 55 million Americans receive retirement or disability benefits.
The most successful government program in our nation’s history has not contributed to the federal deficit. It has a $2.7 trillion surplus, and it can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for at least the next 20 years, according to the Social Security Administration.
As usual Bernie is spot on, and the solution he proposes is the same one I have supported for years. This is also the solution Obama proposed while campaigning, when he said that he would not cut Social Security benefits, would not raise the retirement age, and would not decrease the CPI. Raise the cap!
Here is the third article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is Injustice Antonin Scalia, because he prefers his own racist view, in support of the Republican War on Minorities, to the law, as set by the US Constitution.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act, which gave African Americans in the Deep South access to the ballot box, is a “racial entitlement,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday as the court hear oral arguments in a legal challenge to the landmark law from the state of Alabama.
The outspoken, ultraconservative Scalia discounted the fact that Congress has repeatedly reenacted the law — most recently by a 99-0 Senate vote in 2006 — and argued that its renewal is “not the kind of question you can leave to Congress.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Nino" Scalia describes Voting Rights Act as a "racial entitlement"
“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia said. “They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful — the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future? I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity.
“Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through normal political processes.”
The case of Shelby County vs. Holder is a challenge to the landmark Section 5 of the act. It requires nine states (eight in the South) as well as local governments in other states to “pre-clear” changes in voting procedures with the U.S. Department of Justice. The act has been invoked as recently as the 2012 election, in which several state legislatures made rules changes designed to impede early voting… [emphasis added]
I hove no doubt that Republicans will complain that all the abuses that originally occasioned the Voting Rights Act were perpetrated by Democrats. That is true. The Dixiecrats were indeed Democrats, but when the Democratic Party pushed the Voting Rights Act through Congress, those same Dixiecrats abandoned the Democratic Party and have now become the Republican base.
I agree with the experts that, if Section 5 is overturned, the Voting Rights Act will become altogether reactive, because it is Section 5 that makes it proactive in those places with a history of racial abuse of voting rights. Arizona is not covered by Section 5. The appeals court overturned their anti-Latino plan that created four new white dominated districts, when all the population growth that caused the state to gain those four seats was Latino. The court sent it back to the state with instructions to redo it, but since the election was so close, Arizona was able to hold the 2012 elections using the overturned plan. If anything, Section 5 needs to be expanded to everywhere that Republicans are attacking the right to vote of minorities, students, seniors, and anyone else that is likely to vote for Democrats.
I also agree that Herr Scalia’s view that being allowed to vote is a “racial entitlement” could not be a more racist statement.
I also agree that the Constitution guarantees the right to vote, but there is one point everyone seems to have missed. Herr Scalia said that voting rights is “not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. The experts said that Congress has renewed it several times. What does the Constitution actually have to say about that?
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Constitution says it’s exactly the kind of question you can leave to Congress. It could not be more clear that Scalia opposes the US Constitution, as he helps the Republican party goose-step back to the 19th century.