Liberal, Irreverent

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Facism: A characteristic of the Right

What makes these people right-wing extremists is that they not only
adopt right-wing political positions, they take them to their most
extreme logical (if that's the word for it) outcome:

They not only oppose abortion, they believe abortion providers should
be killed.

They not only believe that liberal elites control the media and
financial institutions, but that a conniving cabal of Jews is at the
heart of this conspiracy to destroy America.

They not only despise Big Government, they believe it is part of a New
World Order plot to enslave us all.

They not only defend gun rights avidly, they stockpile them out of
fear that President Obama plans to send in U.N. troops to take them
away from citizens.

They not only oppose homosexuality as immoral, they believe gays and
lesbians deserve the death penalty.

They not only oppose civil-rights advances for minorities, they also
believe a "race war" is imminent, necessary and desirable.

And on and on.

Every part of the agenda of the agenda of right-wing
extremists is essentially an extreme expression of conservative
positions. And that, fundamentally, is why American fascism always has
been and always will be, properly understood, an unmistakable
phenomenon of the Right.

Via Crooks&Liars

Friday, August 28, 2009

ThinkProgress: The Progress Report: Stimulating Hypocrisy

Stimulating Hypocrisy
Earlier this year, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives and with the support of only three Republicans in the Senate. This stimulus bill, which included $552 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts, has provided much-needed support to state and local economies across the country. Cognizant to this fact, conservatives have jumped on the chance to personally deliver stimulus money to their cash-strapped states and districts, while conveniently brushing past their original opposition. A two-faced approach to the stimulus debate has become routine for many Republicans, with many GOP lawmakers who are standing against the stimulus in Washington, D.C., but touting it when they travel home to their constituents.

CONGRESSIONAL HYPOCRITES: Several House Republicans who opposed the Recovery Act quickly returned to their districts to tout projects that it funded. Stimulus opponent Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) met with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently to solicit stimulus money for streetcar expansions and road repairs. Cao proudly boasted that he is looking "at federal monies that the state has and channeling more of that money to the district." Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earlier this month asked for stimulus funds to be diverted into paying down the deficit rather than paying it out to states. But the same day he took credit for the construction site at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky -- a project that was funded in large part by the Recovery Act. One of the most brazen acts of hypocrisy came from House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has repeatedly claimed that the stimulus is "failing" to create jobs. Earlier this month, Cantor appeared at a job fair in Midlothian, VA, to demonstrate how he is working on "long-term solutions that will put...Virginia workers back on the path to financial stability." But scores of jobs advertised at the jobs fair were created by the stimulus, and Chesterfield County, where the fair was being held, will receive more than $38 million in stimulus funding over the next two years.

HYPOCRITICAL GOVERNORS: Republican governors lined up to attack the Recovery Act and oppose its passage as well. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), said if he was still a member of Congress he would've voted against the stimulus and wrote an op-ed in Politico lambasting the Recovery Act's effect, calling it the "stimulus that has not stimulated." Yet the very next day, he appeared with constituents in Louisiana to present a jumbo-sized check of federal grant money authorized under the Recovery Act to residents of Vernon Parish. He later toured the state in a "Louisiana Working" tour, handing out millions of dollars of stimulus money while simultaneously attacking "Washington Spending." Similarly, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last year titled "Don't Bail Out My State," proudly boasting about being the only governor to travel to Washington to lobby against the stimulus package. Yet after the legislation was passed, Sanford changed his mind and told reporters that being against the Recovery Act "doesn't preclude taking the money." In April, Sanford became the last governor to seek economic recovery funds.

THE STIMULUS IS WORKING: The Council of Economic Advisers, in a report released earlier this month, called the Recovery Act the "boldest countercyclical fiscal stimulus in American history" and concluded that the stimulus added nearly 500,000 jobs to the economy in the second quarter of 2009 that would not have been there without it. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), one of the few Republicans who voted in favor of the stimulus, noted last March that even "those who were opposed to the stimulus spending will see some of the projects that are underway in their communities as they've initiated." Snowe said she believes that the effect of the spending has been to create an "amazing" number of projects in her home state. Many conservatives who opposed the stimulus or the idea of Keynesian spending in general have started to line up to defend the Recovery Act. On Aug. 7, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) chief economic adviser during his 2008 campaign, told reporters that "no one would argue that the stimulus has done nothing." Three days later, Niall Ferguson of the conservative Hoover Institution said the Recovery Act "has clearly made a significant contribution to stabilizing the US economy."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Badtux the Snarky Penguin: Right Wing Free Market Health Care Plan Diagram

Remember, boys and girls. If insurers aren't free to discriminate against customers and arbitrarily rescind coverage because patients didn't report diseases they didn't even know they had, Big Government is getting between a patient and his undertaker, and that's just wrong!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most. Welcome to the American health insurance industry. Instead of helping policyholders attain the health security they need for their families, big insurance companies get rich by denying coverage to patients. Now they’re sending lobbyists to Washington, DC to twist the arms of lawmakers to oppose reform of the status quo. Why? Because the status quo pays. Learn more about the glamorous lives of billionaire health insurance executives and tell us your story of being victimized by their greed. Then contribute to Brave New Films so we can continue to get the word out about the health insurance racket.

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details:

8 common LIES about health insurance reform

8 common LIES about health insurance reform
  1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Palin and right wing paranoia. Where is the inteligent debate?

Sarah Palin is definitely as crazy as the birthers or even crazier;
but the big picture here is that the ones attending the now infamous
Town Hall meetings with the purpose of disrupting the events,
embarrass the Congress persons and effectively shutting down debate
are precisely the ones who love Sarah Palin. They are the ones who
believe the birther's conspiracy theory that the President of the
United States is not an American citizen and the fanatics who shouted
"kill him" referring to Obama in the last days of the McCain/Palin

If opponents of reform should be embarrassed by these and comments
like "death panels" and government officials knocking the doors of
seniors to ask them "how they want to die" or "disposing of those who
do not pay taxes anymore"; add to that the death threats to Rep Brad
Miller, the swastika on Rep David Scott's office and the Twitter
posting I highlighted of a right wing nut stating that the families of
members of Congress should be "whacked" so members of Congress "get
the message" (

And in the meantime, there has been very little discussion of the
25,000 who died every year due to lack of health coverage, the 14,000
who lose coverage daily, the $1.2 trillion wasted out of our $2.4
trillion healthcare system according to PricewaterhouseCooper, the 62%
of bankruptcies due to medical bills, the almost 50 million who are
constantly uninsured, the 80+ million who at any given moment go
without insurance during the year, the $150billion /year cost in
preventable errors, how our $2.4 trillion healthcare system will
double to a $4.8 trillion system in less than 10 years if we do
nothing, etc., etc, etc.

People are dying out there, they need this reform badly and the only
thing we get from opponents is how bad reform is for insurance
companies, how bad competition from a public option is for insurance
companies and how socialist is to have health care reform. (and this
is not even counting how doing health reform is "against the
Constitution" and Senator Specter going to hell for supporting health

More intelligent discussion and less lunacy. Can opponents of health
reform provide that? We will see.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Its time to punish congress by wacking their families!"


Update 8/9/09. A_Mad_American deleted this offensive posting. Too late though as many other Twitter users were able to notice it and I kept a screen image of it.

Update 8/10/09.
A_Mad_American Twitter account does not exist anymore. The post threatening the families of members of Congress was just an example of all the hate posts from this mad "American".

"@GregWHoward Its time to punish congress by wacking their families! They'll get the messages fast!

I highlighted this Twitter post from A_Mad_American where this certainly mad "American" states that is a good idea to MURDER the families of members of Congress, as a punishment for what I guess is...
*voting for the Stimulus bill that has rescued the nation from the Bush recession and avoided the Bush depression,
*voting for the Climate/Energy bill (House),
*confirming Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court,
*supporting Health Care Reform that will provide health coverage and therefore access to care to most Americans and will improve quality while reducing cost,
*in general for supporting Obama.

While many may have lowered their expectations so badly that they consider this behavior from this type of conservatives understandable and normal, it is nevertheless disturbing. We see how right wing mouthpieces from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News and the usual gang drum up the emotions of some to the point that these crazy loonies go from listeners of these shows to make threats, that nobody takes seriously, to killing doctors and cops. Will these threat to the families of members of Congress become something regrettable later? I do not know. But what I know is that Dr. Tiller was threatened before he was murdered, and even in the recent gym shooting the killer stated his intentions on blog postings.

On the current health care reform debate, conservatives have orchestrated a coordinated effort to disrupt debate, confuse and scare the population. They have used the usual channels like Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and organizations supported by well known Republican and conservative operatives. As the heat of this process continues rising and the frustration of conservatives increases, we can only expect a repetition of the last days of the McCain/Palin campaign where the shouts of support for McCain/Palin became shouts for the death of Obama. This time the shouts against Obama and reform are apparently degenerating in shouts for punishment of members of Congress, in this case, by murdering their families.

So again, how serious should we take online threats? Well, experience is showing that online threats are not just some "colorful" expression of free speech anymore, but unfortunately in some cases they have become something else, a prediction of pain to come toward innocent people.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Freshman Democratic lawmaker ‘physically assaulted at a local event’ by activists

Freshman Democratic lawmaker ‘physically assaulted at a local event’ by activists.

As lobbyist-run groups encourage conservative activists to “rattle” members of Congress at local town hall events, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that “at least one freshman Democrat” has already been “physically assaulted at a local event.” Connolly warned that conservative groups had taken things to a “dangerous level“:

“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,’ Connolly said. ‘They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”

Recent events have given congressman good reason to be “fearful for their safety.” Last week, a protester hung an effigy of freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) outside his district office, and after a June 22 town hall meeting was disrupted by an “unruly mob” of tea party activists, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) had to be escorted to his car by police. ThinkProgress contacted Connolly’s office regarding the identity of the congressman who was physically assaulted, but we have not yet received a response.

Ben Bergmann