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American Oligarchy: The Republicans cock-block ‘Buffet Rule’ vote

Arguing for more fairness in the nation’s tax code, Senate Democrats tried to bring legislation forward that would establish a 30% floor for households earning $1 million a year. Tried and failed. Predictably, the evil GOP strangled this baby in the crib so that their corporate masters won’t have to pay their fair share.


Via The New York Times:

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a move to open debate on the so-called Buffett Rule, ensuring that a measure pressed for months by President Obama and Senate Democrats to ensure that the superrich pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent will not come to a decisive vote.

But the fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote — the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed — set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning.

Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats’ tax increase would raise.

Republicans say they like that contrast, and their language ahead of the vote on a motion just to take up the Buffett Rule was harsh and aimed squarely at Mr. Obama, who first proposed a 30-percent tax rate floor for anyone earning at least $1 million a year last September. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, went to the Senate floor and all but called Mr. Obama a liar.

“By wasting so much time on this political gimmick that even Democrats admit won’t solve our larger problems, it’s shown the president is more interested in misleading people than he is in leading,” Mr. McConnell said of the Buffett Rule push.

Democrats said they saw that as a sign of weakness. Pointing to a Gallup poll from last week that indicated 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal, including 63 percent of political independents, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the Republican response “proof positive” that “for first time in decades, maybe generations, they’re on the defensive on their signature issue,” taxes.

After he made that comment, a CNN poll was released putting support at 72 percent, including 53 percent of Republicans.

The Democrats have vowed to return to the Buffet Rule again and again. It’s an issue they should use to its full advantage, bludgeoning the Republicans senseless with it, by making it THE topic of the Spring and Summer months and lovingly placing it on their heads like a paper Burger King crown… or around their necks like a noose.

Why show these bastards any mercy when they’ve got their backs to a rather steep political cliff?

Just who does the GOP leadership thinks it’s fooling anymore? (Fox News viewers and Teabaggers aside, of course.) The Great Republican Crack-up of 2012 continues to pick up speed!

Below, Senator Bernie Sanders gives ‘em hell on the Senate floor yesterday:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Portrait of killer George Zimmerman made out of 12,000 Skittles

The medium is the message in Denver artist Andy Bell’s portrait of George Zimmerman made of 12,000 Skittles.

Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was armed with a cell phone, a bottle of tea, and a bag of Skittles.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Chuck Colson tribute: From the White House to the big house, Jesus and anti-gay bigotry

Former Special Counsel to Richard Nixon and the first from his administration to become a Watergate jailbird, influential Christian leader and anti-gay activist Chuck Colson remains hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage last week. In Colson’s honor, Joe.My.God. reminds us of the ridiculous Born Again Christian comic based on Colson’s evangelical memoir of the same title.

Quoting from Gamma Cloud:

Published by Spire Christian Comics in 1978, Born Again is the sugar-coated, “feel good” story of Chuck Colson’s suffering and redemption.  It’s a relatively typical tale in some respects, as Colson professes that he was converted to Evangelical Christianity through the help of his friend Thomas Phillips who had himself been “saved” some time earlier.  Phillips provides Colson with a copy of the C.S. Lewis book Mere Christianity and Colson subsequently immerses himself in the text, learning all kinds of Jesusy insight. (Incidentally, despite the fact that he apparently needed “saving,” Colson effectively maintains that he was basically law-abiding – and apparently naïve and blissfully oblivious of the wrongdoing and unethical behavior swirling around him – throughout all of his work with the Nixon administration and CREEP.) While serving time in a Federal prison for convictions related to the Watergate scandal, Colson shares his enlightenment with other inmates and he ultimately decides to start a ministry and devote his life to spreading the word far and wide.

Well…I guess some of that story is true.

The fact of the matter is that Chuck Colson: Born Again is nothing short of a grand and glorious collection of obfuscation and half-truths.  Colson’s yarn portrays the man himself as an pious martyr acting in service of a naively innocent Richard Nixon.  In one of the more laughable parts of the story, it’s inferred that John Ehrlichman learned of the Watergate break-in while watching the evening news.  Indeed, the entire question of wrongdoing and guilt is effectively marginalized through the omnipresent argument that Richard Nixon’s coterie of henchmen acted under the Nietzschean principal that “what is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”  With respect to this particular version of the Watgergate story, it’s basically unclear as to whether the “love” that spurred Nixon and co. to action was an unfettered and dogmatic love of country or a just good old-fashioned lust for power, influence and control.

As soon as I saw the cover, I recalled leafing through this silliness at my parents’ church in the late 70s. At the time, I was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s then new Jailbird and if you know what that’s about, you’ll laugh at the thought of picking up Chuck Colson: Born Again at the same time.

In 2008, George Bush gave this asshole the Presidential Citizens Medal.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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McCarthy 2.0: Allen West has ‘heard’ that up to 80 House Democrats are Commies!

Bigoted, idiotic Florida Republican congressman Allen West is being touted by many of his fellow dipshits, including Sarah Palin and Herman Cain, as their pick for the Republican VP nod, but on Tuesday in Palm City, FL, Rep. West let his inner Senator Joe out, claiming that “he’s heard” up to 80 U.S. House Democrats are “Communist Party” members!

Copping one of Michele Bachmann’s moves? That’s pathetic to begin with! Sadly, West declined to name even one. Who are they? I want to know who they are so I can fucking vote for them!

Crooks and Liars adds:

Someone should ask West to produce the names of the Democrats in the House who are Communists or tell us where he’s “heard” that number—or STFU.

Making unsubstantiated claims about large numbers of Communists in the government used to lead to disgrace. That this wackadoo is considered a possible veep pick tells you everything you need to know about the fetid state of the Republican Party.

Hell, this latest silliness will probably help West who once said that his priority in the House was to make sure that “this liberal, progressive, socialist agenda, this left-wing, vile, vicious, despicable machine that’s out there is soundly brought to its knees.”

It just gets better and better, doesn’t it? These guys are the best!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Santorum calls it quits

In a rambling speech today before a group of onlookers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum pulled out of the race for President…and the heavens wept.

In his typically brain-addled style, Santorum recalled some of the highlights of his campaign:

Even fun things like the sweater vest—amazing thing, that sweater vest. From then on the sweater vest became the official wardrobe of the Santorum campaign . . . We sourced that sweater vest to a company that was making them here in the United States.”

Expect the sweater vest-wearing, right-wing, religious zealot to re-emerge like the walking dead in 2016.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Soviet Michigan: Radical Republicans eliminate democracy

A shocking piece of investigative journalism from The Rachel Maddow Show has been percolating up the charts at reddit and elsewhere. Trust me, it’s absolutely worthy of your undivided attention for the next 16 minutes.

Here’s the gist of it: The Michigan constitution deliberately calls for an exceptionally slow process before bills can be signed into law. Of the 566 bills that have been signed into law in the past year—since all three branches of government came under the control of the Republicans—546 of them were passed under “immediate effect,” implying an emergency or timely necessity of some sort.

Chris Savage at Eclectablog explains why this is so disturbing:

“Immediate effect” can only occur if 2/3 of the members of the House vote for it. But Republicans do not HAVE 2/3 of the House. The entire reason that they have been avoiding using roll call votes is because they did not have the votes to make the laws immediate effect. In other words, over 96% of the laws passed by the Republicans since January 2011 have been illegal in their implementation.

Simply stated: Michigan Republicans are putting their radical laws into “immediate effect” in a blatant power grab, even though they don’t have enough votes to do so. Democracy? They don’t need your stinking democracy!

National treasure Rachel Maddow on why you should care:

The 2010 elections ushered in a lot of radicalized Republican legislatures and governors across the country and have done a lot of radical things. Scott Walker is famous for a reason.

But what`s happened in Michigan is the most radical thing Republicans have done anywhere in the country. They have eliminated democracy. They have eliminated voting rights at the local level in their state. They have tried to eliminate Democrats` voting rights in the state legislature.

Whether you`re on the left or you`re on the right or you`re in the center or if you don`t particularly care about politics, if all you care about is that we have a form of government in this country called democracy, we vote. If you care about the idea that we still use voting here, we still use democracy, if you care about the Constitution—frankly, Michigan ought to have a flashing red light siren on it right now.

And indeed since the original Maddow segment aired last week, both the media and the public have taken notice. What was little-known even in the state of Michigan is now becoming a major national story. If the furor grows loud enough, even Fox News will be obliged to tackle it—as opposed to simply ignoring it the way they normally would ignore something like this. But HOW will they report APPROVINGLY on THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY BY THE REPUBLICANS??? It will be interesting, amusing and probably alarming to hear how the Republican establishment will try to spin this in the coming week.

And what about the Tea party-types who got these “conservatives” into office? How do they feel about their candidates now? Cognitive dissonance R US!

At approx 12 and a half minutes in you get to see these wascally Republican clowns in action. By the end of this piece, my jaw had dropped to the floor. This story is nothing short of mind-blowing.

It occurred to me, though, where were the fucking Democrats when all this happened? Were they sleeping? Not there? I can see this happening a few times, sure, but at what point would you cry foul? After 2 or 3 dozen times? After maybe 300 bills passed by “immediate effect”? How many was too many? That’s a bit ridiculous, too. Michigan needs to toss these GOP brownshirts out pronto, sure, but after that, the state needs to look into getting some new Democrats.

I mean, Christ, this is like sending Hobbits to do battle with Orcs.

Maddow promises a follow-up segment on Monday’s program.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Church kidnaps children at gunpoint to ‘teach them a lesson’

Anyone care to venture a guess at what that lesson was???

Getting far, far away from from the Christian church is the take-away it looks like to me!

Inflicting PTSD on children? The adults who were the perpetrators here—including, incredibly, an off-duty cop who used his real gun—deserve a taste of their own medicine (and some prison sex).

This goes way beyond being merely “misguided.” Holy shit!

As found on On Knees for Jesus (“A blog dedicated to showing how Christians are making the world a better place”):

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Conservatism’s dimmest bulb?

In a country simply bursting at the seams with rightwing fuckwits, it takes a special kind of fool to stand out, but Townhall’s “community manager” Helen Whalen Cohen is apparently giving it her best shot.

You see, on March 31, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, when environmentally conscious people were turning their lights OFF to observe Earth Hour, Helen turned her lights ON—in solidarity with some other free-market dipshits at a reichwing “think-tank” called the Competitive Enterprise Institute—to celebrate “Human Achievement Hour.” Why did these “CONSERVATIVES” want everyone to turn their lights ON to WASTE some energy “in honor of human accomplishments”?

And what’s so “conservative” about wasting energy, anyway? Let’s see!

Technology and innovation have made our lives immeasurably better. We can fly to other countries in hours. Medical achievements have made formerly deadly diseases curable. The poorest people in the United States have what would have, until recently, been considered luxury items. There are seven billion people living on this planet, and lives have never been so long and so prosperous. Talk about a cause worth celebrating.

By senselessly wasting electricity? That seems like a great idea! Wait a minute, actually it seems like a rather petty, ridiculous and ludicrously small-minded way to celebrate “human achievement”!

This point comes up (albeit hyperbolically) in Atlas Shrugged, when Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden shared the following exchange:

“I keep thinking of what they told us in school about the sun losing energy, growing colder each year. I remember wondering, then, what it would be like in the last days of the world. I think it would be…like this. Growing colder and things stopping.”

“I never believed that story. I thought by the time the sun was exhausted, men would find a substitute.”

I’ll wait while you wipe the tears of your laughter away…. Quoting Ayn Rand to back up ANY argument is obviously the fall-back position of a smug fool with shit taste in literature, but in this instance, the smug fool seems hellbent on crawling even further up her own ass. Like I said, Helen’s kinda “special.”

Human beings have made untold achievements until now. Who knows what will be accomplished in the future. In honor of that, I plan to spend Human Achievement Hour reading Atlas Shrugged, with all my lights turned on and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For the Common Man” playing in the background.

And with that last paragraph, Helen Whalen Cohen defiantly proves herself to be one of conservatism’s dimmest bulbs (But she’s a REAL LIGHT BULB, not one of those pansy “green” ones that Rush Limbaugh thinks Republicans should hate. Nanny state, Obama, sluts, Democrats and blah, blah, blah).

It’s one thing to think “This ‘Earth Hour’ is stupid” and quite another to not only act a total prat by yourself and for your own benefit/amusement—WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS???—and then broadcast how ludicrously lame you are to the Internet. It’s like she’s proud of being… a fucking idiot!

I don’t know, but challenging Jim Hoff in the abject stupidity sweepstakes is not a career distinction most people—even, I’d suppose, the vast majority of conservative bloggers—would want following them around like a sulfurous cloud, but Helen Whalen Cohen isn’t afraid to go there, making her one to watch!

Bless her pointed little head!

Little Green Footballs

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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A prediction: All Hell will break loose for the GOP if the Supremes reject Obamacare

God help me, but not only do I once again find myself agreeing with something that David Frum has written, I’m actually finding myself drawn to his byline these days.

One of us has changed. It ain’t me!

Frum’s short piece on The Daily Beast yesterday rather eloquently summarizes what will happen after the Supreme Court makes its ruling and was pretty much on the money, I thought. After making the case that Justices who have made their careers decrying judicial activism probably shouldn’t go there themselves—everyone is looking at you, Antonin Scalia—Frum predicts in favor of ACA standing. I wish I could say I was as optimistic as he is, but his analysis of the fallout is still sound:

What then?

What then is that healthcare comes roaring back as a campaign issue, to which Republicans have failed to provide themselves an answer. Because of the prolonged economic downturn, more Americans than ever have lost—or are at risk of losing—their health coverage. Many of them will be voting in November. What do Republicans have to say to them?

Make no mistake: If Republicans lose in the Supreme Court, they’ll need an answer. “Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.

“Unconstitutional” was an answer of a kind. But if the ACA is not rejected as “unconstitutional,” the question will resurface: if you guys don’t want this, want do you want instead?

In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rescue them from themselves, they’ll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we’re doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.


Mitt Romney, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night said the following and it’s blandly revealing of where the GOP stands on the matter:

JAY LENO: Well, suppose if they were never insured before?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, if they’re 45 years old and they show up they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well, and then if you get ill then you’re going to be covered.

Let me translate that for you: “Hey guys, if you’re 45 and don’t have health insurance because you’ve been out of work for the last two years due to the mess me and my Wall Street buddies in the oligarch class have put you in, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO DIE.”

Or you know, Google “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?” (Google should do the public a service and link the first result to a Willy Wonka meme that says “Don’t have health insurance? You’re fucked”)

Leno pressed him, but Romney kept the line:

JAY LENO: I know guys at work in the auto industry, and they’re just not covered…they’ve just never been able to get insurance. And then they get to e 30, 35, and were never able to get insurance before. Now they have it. That seems like a good thing.

MITT ROMNEY: We’ll look at a circumstance where someone was ill, and hasn’t been insured so far. But people who have had the chance to be insured — if you’re working in an auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure all their employees — you look at the circumstances that exist. But people who have done their best to get insured, are going to be able to be covered. But you don’t want everyone saying, `I’m going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you have to find rules that get people in that are playing by the rules.

What an asshole! But this is what the GOP is running on! Does this make any sense? It seems suicidal to me!

“Nothing” is what 31 million uninsured Americans—many of them with pre-existing conditions and children—will get if the Republicans get their way. 31 million people—many of them voters—is a lot of people to fuck over and make angry. If the SCOTUS decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the GOP is going to regret what they wished for.

Because if that happens, all Hell is going to break loose.

No one’s going to be talking about “Obamacare” anymore. They’ll be talking about HEALTH CARE and why so many people DON’T HAVE IT in this fucking madhouse of a country. The issue is going to CRUSH the GOP. The BEST outcome for them would be the Supremes letting ACA stand as is because it’s the only thing that would (or could) save the Republicans from themselves.

The thing that’s not getting brought up in all of this, and I think it’s a valid thing to ponder: What happens to 31 million pissed-off people who’ve been counting down the days until they can get health coverage? Do they just shrug it off? Tell their sick kids that it’s what’s best for the country???

Imagine needing a hernia stitched up for years and now that’s off for you, buddy. Just like Denzel Washington in John Q or the main character in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new dark comedy film God Bless America—a guy who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to kill off a bunch of rightwing assholes before his own demise—should they yank away all hope for that many Americans, just imagine the repercussions to the individuals—people with names, social security numbers and street addresses—who will be seen as responsible for destroying the lives of people for whom there was once a light at the end of the tunnel?

My prediction: If the Supremes deep-six Obamacare, things will get fucking nuts.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Anti-gay group’s shameful private memos revealed

Rut-roh! The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has made public several confidential documents which outline the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) plan to thwart the gay marriage movement.  The documents were reportedly acquired after NOM’s unsuccessful attempt to circumvent Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws brought them to the attention of state investigators. Holy buffoonish backfire, Batman!

The documents reveal some of the group’s overtly racially-driven strategies. None of this is a surprise, of course—the Prop 8 matter here in California, it has been argued by many, was decided by African-American churchgoers—but to see it laid out with such vulgar bluntness is nevertheless disturbing:

“The strategic goal…is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”

“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity—a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

HRC President Joe Solmonese denounced the group: “Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African Americans or Hispanics.”

Some additional highlights of the NOM documents, via Think Progress:

Interrupt the “attempt to equate…sexual orientation with race” so that marriage inequality is not perceived as discrimination.

Draw attention to the “bigotry and intolerance” displayed by equality advocates and “document the victims” through a rapid response media team.

Emphasize the importance of “religious liberties” to limit the impact of marriage equality’s legislative advancements.

“Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders” like pornography, “protection of children” and religious liberty at the federal level.

Expose Obama administration programs that “have the effect of sexualizing young children” or threatening “childhood innocence.”

“Find, train, and equip young leaders” to become a “next generation of elites” capable of opposing marriage equality.

Foster closer relationships with Catholic bishops to “equip, energize, and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue.”

Focus on “the consequences of gay marriage for parental rights.”

And force your superstitious religious beliefs down everyone else’s throats! Shameful.

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters paraphrased one of Aesop’s fables:

An Eagle had made her nest at the top of a lofty oak. A Fox, having found a convenient hole, lived with her young in the middle of the trunk; and a Wild Sow with her young had taken shelter in a hollow at its foot. The Fox resolved to destroy by her arts this chance-made colony. She climbed to the nest of the Eagle, and said: “Destruction is preparing for you, and for me too. The Wild Sow, whom you may see daily digging up the earth, wishes to uproot the oak, that she may, on its fall, seize our families as food.” Then she crept down to the cave of the Sow and said: “Your children are in great danger; for as soon as you shall go out with your litter to find food, the Eagle is prepared to pounce upon one of your little pigs.” When night came, she went forth with silent foot and obtained food for herself and her young; but, feigning to be afraid, she kept a look-out all through the day. Meanwhile, the Eagle, full of fear of the Sow, sat still on the branches, and the Sow, terrified by the Eagle, did not dare to go out from her cave; and thus they each, with their families, perished from hunger.

Moral: Gay folks and black folks can argue all day as to who gets to be the “sow” and who gets to be the “eagle.” But both groups better damn well recognize who the hell the fox is.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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