The right-wing hate fest known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (GPAC) is always entertaining--and scary. From "Evolution is Science Fiction" bumper stickers to the deranged rantings from nuts like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, it's always an insightful look into the crazy world of American conservatism. Conservatives are not happy with George Bush or the Republican Party, but they REALLY hate "socialists" and Barack Obama. Socialist is the new "liberal" at this year's CPAC shin-dig. Everyone is a socialist now--even George W. Bush!
The theme at CPAC is that we must (a) cut taxes on the rich more (b) cut or eliminate corporate taxes (c) cut or eliminate capital gains taxes (d) increase defense spending (e) balance the budget and (f) protect "traditional family values" and marriage from the homos who want to get married and have their own families.
This is a group that thinks Sarah Palin is even QUALIFIED to be President of the United States!
I hope Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin are the future of the Republican Party. We can look forward to 8 years of President Barack Obama. Eight years will not be enough, however, to undo the mess George W. Bush and the GOP have left our country in. Why can’t Republicans learn anything from history? The party of Herbert Hoover still blames FDR for the Republican Great Depression, and wants to repeat the same policies that have now created another Republican depression.
My problem with Obama is that he doesn’t go far enough. Like most Democrats, he recognizes the problems created by the corporate rich, but he doesn’t want to seriously challenge their power or wealth. We need a real redistribution of wealth, from the corporate rich to the working class. That is democratic socialism. Instead of “reforming” healthcare, we need a single-payer public universal health insurance program like most industrial countries.
Letting the Bush tax cuts expire on those making over $250,000 is not enough, we need to take back the Reagan tax cuts on the rich and return to the tax rate of Dwight Eisenhower, the great “socialist” who warned us about the greed of the “military-industrial complex.” I wish Obama would follow the example of FDR and publicly denounce the “economic royalists” who have slashed wages for workers while rewarding themselves with lavish million dollar “bonuses.” Of course, Republicans will accuse progressives who criticize CEO’s making 500 times the average wage of their workers of waging “class warfare.” Isn’t that kind of like accusing slaves of slavery?
A new bill has been introduced in the Tennessee general assembly that would prevent any unmarried couple -- gay or straight -- from adopting children in the state. A new bill has been introduced in the Tennessee general assembly that would prevent any unmarried couple -- gay or straight -- from adopting children in the state.
"I think if you poll a majority of Tennesseans and ask them, they can see that two people who've not objectively, publicly stated a commitment to their relationship put a child at risk of being in an unstable home," said David Fowler, executive director of the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee.
"This isn't about quality of care. This isn't about the commitment of the parents. This is about a very narrow agenda," Dr. Marisa Richmond, president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, told the Chattonooga Times Free Press.
Richmond cited the $6 million fiscal note attached to last year's version of the proposed law, which she said was based on an estimated $20,000 cost for each of the roughly 300 children who would be kept in state custody and denied a home because of the restriction.
"We were hoping that, with the budget crisis, they wouldn't reintroduce this bill," she said.
The senate bill, which is sponsored by Republican senator Paul Stanley of Memphis, has been referred to the Senate judiciary committee. (Rhiza Dizon, Advocate.com)
Last night, actor Sean Penn and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black both won Oscars for their work on “Milk,” which told the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official. Today, the right wing expressed its disgust that the movie received such acclamation. On his radio show, Mike Gallagher slammed Penn for ignoring “the majority of Americans” by supporting gay marriage rights, saying it went against America’s “fundamental values.”
Gallagher asked guest Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican Party, if he thought the party “ought to consider” something like civil unions. Steele replied immediately, “No, no, no,” adding, “What are you, crazy?” He made it clear that the party would not budge on gay rights:
GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?
STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.” […]
GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?
The Pentagon is requesting a 12 percent INCREASE in the military budget ($584 billion). Reports indicate the Obama Administration is planning to give a 8 percent INCREASE ($527 billion). The military-industrial lobby is shifting to full speed in its PR campaign to argue that military spending is a necessary stimulant to the economy, and to drive home the attack that Obama's 8 percent increase is a CUT in military spending.
Everyone knows that the military inflates its budgets so that anything less than their increase request is portrayed as a cut. They still get $billions more every year. As Christopher Hayes points out in The Nation (Cut the Military Budget-I) even not counting the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations, the regular Pentagon budget has increased by 77 percent, while cost overruns in weapons systems have ballooned to $300 billion.
As Barney Franks points out, the math is compelling for cutting the military budget: "If we do not make the reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts."
"If we do not reduce the military budget, either we accustom ourselves to unending and increasing budget deficits, or we do severe harm to our ability to improve the quality of our lives through sensible public policy."
Even former Reagan Administration official Lawrence Korb (now Center for American Progress senior fellow) has been pushing cuts in military spending. He has presented an alternative Unified Security Budget which identifies $61 billion in cuts military programs that could be made "with no sacrifice to our security."
The United States is facing an economic crisis unlike any it has seen in 80 years. The Federal Reserve and FDIC have already spent trillions on the bailout. Now Congress has approved an economic stimulus that will cost near $800 billion. The national debt is over $10 trillion and the annual deficit is over $1 trillion. How is the United States going to pay for it? How is it going to fund the new energy economy, schools, education, health care and other urgent needs? One solution: cut the wasteful and bloated military budget.
He reviews a forthcoming book by Janet Afary on "Sexual Politics in Modern Iran" and includes some extensive information on same-sex relationships in Iran, the country who's president recently said had no homosexuals in it!
State Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, says that he will not vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act, a bill that would make Minnesota’s marriage laws gender-neutral, allowing same-sex couples many of the rights currently denied by Minnesota statute. Koering, who is gay and a Republican, said he would vote against it because the state faces bigger problems.
Should the gay community be focusing on legalizing same-sex marriage or civil unions? I've been debating this question with myself for a while, and still am not sure. On one hand, it is hard to justify creating a "separate but equal" institution that is supposed to give all or most of the rights and benefits of marriage for one category of people--gays and lesbians. If it is a separate institution, it cannot be equal to marriage (at least under current federal and state laws).
Terry Allen makes a good case for civil unions in the Feb. issue of In These Times: Forget Marriage--Civil Unions for All Her approach, which I like, is to get the government out of marriage and leave that "institution" up to churches and other religious groups to define as they see fit, but make "civil unions" equal benefits, rights, etc. for any (consenting adult) couple, gay or straight. This argument would appeal to the non-religious, libertarians and some conservatives who want "less government." We could even make civil unions an option for couples who may not even be in a sexual relationship at all (like the growing number of senior citizens who are in non-sexual relationships but would benefit from civil union benefits and rights.)
I agree with Chris Crain that the gay rights movement must NOT pursue a "marriage only" strategy, but move forward with marriage and civil unions simultaneously. One advantage of this approach is that it would result in rights for gay couples in all 50 states, not just the few who will legalize gay marriage any time soon.
Maybe after getting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed, the gay community could work with the Obama administration to (a) scrap the "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) and (b) create a federal recognition of civil unions.
Maybe Obama has won his first political lesson as President: You can't trust Republicans! They don't want any part of a "bipartisan" plan to save this country--they want to see Obama FAIL. So enough with this bi-partisan compromising crap, do what we elected you to do--we want CHANGE, no more of the Republican/conservative non-sense that got us into the messes we are in.
The craziest ones seem to be in Tennessee, where four Republican state reps. are plantiffs in a lawsuit to force Obama to prove he is a United States citizen by coughing up his birth certificate! Yes they are that crazy!
If you want to look into the mind of a crazy person who actually follows the "reasoning" of right-wing nuts like Benard Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, just read the Manifesto of Jim Adkisson, the nut who attack and killed "liberals" at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church!
"Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them.... "This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence."
"I thought I'd do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me....Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life aint worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals."
The scary thing is, he did almost exactly what the right-wing nuts have been screaming at their followers to do--attack and kill liberals, since liberals are "traitors," "liars" "Un-American", etc...
Today is the 200th birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. What do they have in common? First, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, saved the country from the "War of Southern Traitors" known as the Civil War, and is credited with freeing the slaves. He was probably the last great Republican President and would not recognize the Republican Party today, or would they recognize him as a Republican? He couldn't win a GOP primary today with these comments:
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety off my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated n a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." (You should see it now Abe, thanks to your party!)
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not firs existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
"The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds."
(Did he say "Workers of the world unite!" ??? Lincoln was a MARXIST COMMUNIST!)
Charles Darwin was the father of modern biology and gave the scientific explanation for how life EVOLVED on planet earth--natural selection. No god or gods required. Most Americans still don't believe it! Polls show most people still cling to the myth of biblical creation by a sky god! And they control the Republican Party!
So what do Darwin and Lincoln have in common? They were both skeptics when it came to religion, and both challenged the majority opinion of their time with reason and truth. Both are anathema to the Christian Right and the Republican Party today!
Many people may still be in shock at watching an intelligent Presidential Press Conference. Barack Obama did a great job of explaining why Congress must pass the "Economic Stimulus and Recovery" Bill. He made the case for Keynesian "demand-side" economics--using government to stimulate demand. Although I still wish he would quit playing nice with the Republican Taliban, he did take a few kid-glove swipes at the GOP by reminding the American people that THEY were in charge for the past eight years and created the mess we are in, and that we tried "supply-side" (trickle-down) economics and it FAILED. The Bush Tax Cuts did not solve the economic crisis--they made it worse.
What I can't understand is why "centrist" Democrats gave away so much of the stimulus plan just to get a couple of Republican votes. Why is Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson even in the Democratic Party? Listening to him try to rationalize his cuts in education and aid to the states in the stimulus bill on the Rachel Maddow Show, I thought he was a Republican. With "Democrats" like him... gods help us.
Republicans who have turned to Rush Limbaugh to lead the fight against President Obama may have backed the wrong horse. According to one recent poll, Limbaugh turns out to be one of the most unpopular political figures in the country.
An October 24, 2008, poll conducted by the Democratic research firm Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner has Rush Limbaugh enjoying a public-approval rating of just 21 percent among likely voters, while 58 percent have "cold" feelings toward the right-wing radio-talk-show host. Limbaugh's cold rating was higher than that of all the political figures the firm polled. It was seven points higher than Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright and eight points higher than former Weather Underground domestic terrorist William Ayers. (As the firm points out in an email, it's true that Wright and Ayers both had lower "warm" ratings than Limbaugh--as you'd expect for men who have virtually no constituencies.)
Limbaugh is so unpopular that only 44 percent of Republican voters reported "warm" feelings toward him, ten points less than those who felt the same way about Limbaugh's top competitor, Fox News' Sean Hannity, and a full 20 points lower than Fox News itself. Yet in spite of rock-bottom favorable numbers, Limbaugh confidently declared one week after Obama's inauguration that his power far exceeded that of the Republican Party's top two leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives. Obama, Limbaugh roared, is "obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."
Obama seems unfazed by El Rushbo. The president recently implored Republican leaders, "You can't listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
Despite Limbaugh's low popularity ratings, congressional Republicans are so intimidated by his perceived influence that even the most resentful members shamelessly grovel at his feet. He might have alienated vast sectors of the Republican base, but Limbaugh still commands an army of self-proclaimed "Dittoheads" who represent the party's most politically fervent, ideologically extreme, and easily shepherded element...
In order to get the votes of two Republican (Maine's Susan Collins and Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter) and perhaps another (Mainer Olympia Snowe) that were needed to undermine the threat of a GOP filibuster, Reid surrendered $86 billion is proposed stimulus spending. In doing so, the Democrats agreed to cut not just fat but bone, and to warp the focus and intent of the legislation.
The Senate plan is dramatically more weighted than the House bill toward tax cuts (which account for more than 40 percent of the overall cost of the package). This is despite the fact that there is a growing consensus -- among even conservative economists and policy makers -- that tax cuts will do little or nothing to stimulate job creation in a country that lost almost 600,000 positions in January alone.
The bottom line is that, under the Senate plan: * States will get less aid. * Schools will get less help. * Job creation programs will be less well funded. * Preparations to combat potential public health disasters -- which could put the final nail in the economy's coffin -- will not be made.
In every sense, the Senate plan moves in the wrong direction.
Paul Krugman: What Centrists Have Wrought The short answer: to appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts.
According to the CBO’s estimates , we’re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger.
Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.
My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.
The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.
A gay woman not allowed to visit her dying partner at Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2007 hopes a federal judge will allow her claims of emotional distress and negligence to go to trial.
As her partner of 17 years slipped into a coma, Janice Langbehn pleaded with doctors and anyone who would listen to let her into the woman's hospital room. Eight anguishing hours passed before Langbehn would be allowed into Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. By then, she could only say her final farewell as a priest performed the last rites on 39-year-old Lisa Marie Pond.
Jackson staffers advised Langbehn that she could not see Pond earlier because the hospital's visitation policy in cases of emergency was limited to immediate family and spouses -- not partners. In Florida, same-sex marriages or partnerships are not recognized. On Friday, two years after her partner's death, Langbehn and her attorneys were in federal court, claiming emotional distress and negligence in a suit they filed last June.
Jackson attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the hospital has no obligation to allow patients' visitors.
Following a hearing lasting more than an hour Friday, U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan said he would try to decide soon whether the case could proceed to trial. He gave no specific date.
The suit is winding its way through federal court only months after voters approved the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The statewide amendment garnered more than 62 percent of voters -- surpassing the 60 percent threshold required for ratification.
Supporters of Florida's Amendment 2 -- mostly conservatives and Christian groups -- argued it was needed to protect families and the traditional institution of marriage by promoting homes with a mom and a dad.
Opponents argued that gay and straight, unmarried Floridians risked losing domestic partner benefits, such as health insurance, hospital visitation rights and the ability to make end-of-life decisions.
This should lift your spirits... hundreds of students from Shawnee Mission High School in Prairie Village, Kansas poured into the streets around their high school to counter-protest anti-gay wacko Fred Phelps and his clan. The school has a Gay Straight Alliance and elected a gay homecoming king. Check out the pictures! Gives us some hope..
(Maybe Fred Phelps is helping us by rallying support for LGBT people!)
Ronald Reagan rolled back a century of progressive advances, and now we are suffering from the consequences of his right-wing policies: the meltdown of the financial sector, widening income inequality, the emergence of lockdown America, the obscene inflation of CEO compensation, the end of locally owned media, market crashes, blackouts, drug-company scandals, rampant greed and materialism, the subprime mortgage crisis, the root of the chaos in the financial sector, thank Ronald Reagan!
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has been gravely concerned that politically motivated tax cuts, largely sweetheart deals for business that benefit the very financial institutions whose high-flying speculation created the economic crisis, have been inserted into the Economic Recovery Act. The House passed legislation is now being voted on in the Senate. So far amendments to increase spending on infrastructure have been defeated while additional tax credits have been added to the bill. It is expected, although not certain, that the Senate will finish voting on the bill today.
DSA has issued a recovery plan that calls on the government to spend $1 trillion to stimulate the economy and includes no business tax credits. We believe the federal government should minimally allocate:
$200 billion in block grants to state and local governments to make up for the annual loss in state and local revenue $100 billion to pay for half of the increased Medicaid costs states will face $100 billion to pay for COBRA coverage for laid-off workers and to allow people over 55 to buy into Medicare $50 billion to increase unemployment insurance and expand eligibility. (Currently only one-third of unemployed workers receive unemployment insurance!) $100 billion to increase Pell grants and expand the number of its recipients. $450 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund so that workers would receive a one-year holiday from paying the regressive FICA tax. Such a measure would radically stimulate consumer demand. DSA's recovery plan and the accompanying analysis are presented in a short, 4-page document that has been posted on our Website. To read or download a copy click HERE. Additionally, we have updated the two-page hand-out, originally released last week, that details our perspective on the economic crisis. The redesigned flyer is much more attractive than the previous version. To read or download the updated flyer click here.
It is critical that Congress hear from those opposed to tax cuts for business if there is any hope of redirecting those resources to job-generating infrastructure spending. You can reach your senator or representative through the Congressional switchboard by calling 202-224-3121 or 800-828-0698. If you don’t know who is your Representative, you can find out by clicking here. Let your Representative know your views, as the bill will come back to the House for a final vote. House members can still pressure their leaders who will negotiate with the Senate on the final version. When you call, be sure to say you are calling about the Economic Recovery Act and that while you support the act, you are both against its tax-cuts-for-business provisions and believe that there should be more direct spending on infrastructure. You should also say that you are opposed to the E-Verify provisions.
Why do we need ANOTHER study on how ineffective the DADT policy is, and why gays prevent no threat to national security or military "cohesion"?? This issue has been studied to death. I know Obama is trying to defer to the military establishment, but we know where that got Bill Clinton.. it got us DADT!
Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir leads a new left-wing coalition govenment. She is the first female Prime Minister in Iceland, and the first (openly) gay head of state in the world.
The big story is that Iceland is an extreme example of the failures of conservative economic policies. If Prime Minister Sigurdardottir and her government can turn things around, we can put Iceland on our list of good places to live (but it's COLD!)
Another good thing about Iceland is the alternative music group Sigur Ros. Check them out!
Some progressives saw the writing on the wall back when Obama nominated Daschel: Matt Tabbai: The Whore Factor: "When Obama picked Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary, I nearly shit my pants. In Washington there are whores and there are whores, and then there is Tom Daschle. Tom Daschle would suck off a corpse for a cheeseburger. True, he is probably only the second-biggest whore for the health care industry in American politics — the biggest being doctor/cat-torturer Bill Frist, whose visit to South Dakota on behalf of John Thune in 2004 was one of the factors in ending Daschle's tenure in the Senate.
But in picking Daschle — who as an adviser to the K Street law firm Alston and Bird has spent the last four years burning up the sheets with the nation's fattest insurance and pharmaceutical interests — Obama is essentially announcing that he has no intention of seriously reforming the health care industry. . ."
"Obama supporters argue that Obama needs someone like Daschle, with credibility within the health care industry, in order to achieve real reform. That's the standard explanation for most of what Obama does (he's only courting the establishment in order to change it), and though highly skeptical, I'm personally willing to withhold judgment until the actual evidence is available regarding what Obama actually does.
But there's no need to withhold judgment on Daschle himself. He embodies everything that is sleazy, sickly, and soul-less about Washington. It's probably impossible for Obama to fill his cabinet with individuals entirely free of Beltway filth -- it's extremely rare to get anywhere near that system without being infected by it -- but Daschle oozes Beltway slime from every pore."
Rush Limbaugh, has emerged as the leader of the Republican Party once again to lead them out of their wilderness of scandal, confusion, and the Great Bush Recession. First, his Great White Behindness tried to argue that it is OBAMA'S recession (don't even try to follow his "logic"..) Now, The Great White One is leading the Republican charge against the Obama/Democratic recovery/stimulus plan, and has proposed his own "bipartisan" plan to divide the stimulus according to the popular vote: 54% infrastructure spending (for the Democrats) and 46% tax cuts for the Republicans and their friends.
James Carville has a response to the leader of the Republican Party: A History Lesson for Rush Limbaugh (Hint: Remember the 2000 Presidential election? What percentage of the vote did Gore and Bush get?)
Can we appoint James Carville as the Democratic Senate Majority Leader? (God Help us if our fate is in the hands of Harry Reid!)