Thursday, March 29, 2012

SICK: @GOP Votes to End Medicare In Order to Finance Giveaways to the Wealthy, Big Oil #P2 #TCOT @SPEAKERBOEHNER

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OOPS, They Did It Again!

Mar 29, 2012 | By ThinkProgress War Room

GOP Votes to End Medicare In Order to Finance Giveaways to the Wealthy, Big Oil

Today was a big day on Capitol Hill. Republicans made crystal clear exactly whose side they're on — that of the wealthiest 1 Percent and special interests like Big Oil.

Here's a rundown of today's action.

House Republicans Approve Budget That Ends Medicare, Slashes Taxes on the Wealthy

Just like they did last year, Republicans almost unanimously voted for a radical budget proposal that ends the Medicare guarantee in order to partially* offset deep tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

How radical is the plan the House passed today? It would pull the rug out from under the elderly (and more or less everyone else in one way or another) while giving millionaires a $265,000 tax cut on top of what they'd each get from the expiring Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

The parade of horribles for the elderly, students, low-income Americans, the middle class, the housing market, our public lands, and virtually every facet of society is too long to list here, but check out our complete coverage of this disastrous budget for all of the details.

10 Republicans, some of whom thought the proposal did not go far enough, voted against it, while ZERO Democrats voted in favor of the extreme plan.

*Even slashing Medicare and nearly every other program or service that Americans benefit from each day isn't enough to pay for the Republican plan's massive tax cuts for the wealthy. These tax cuts are so big that the Republican plan actually makes the deficit and debt worse.

Senate Republicans Vote to Protect $24 BILLION in Giveaways to Big Oil

Not to be outdone by their compatriots on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans voted en masse to protect $24 BILLION in wasteful and unnecessary taxpayer-funded giveaways to the five largest oil companies.

Though 51 Senators voted in favor of the bill (Maine's Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, joined with 49 Democrats), it was defeated due to the Senate's now-standard 60-vote requirement. Unfortunately, four Democratic Senators — Ben Nelson (NE), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jim Webb (VA), and Mark Begich (AK) — joined 43 Republicans in siding with Big Oil to vote down the proposal.

Big Oil is well-known for making it rain in the halls of Congress, but a closer look at its largesse in the context of today's vote is particularly shocking. The 47 Senators voting to protect $24 BILLION in giveaways to Big Oil have received a whopping $23,582,500 from Big Oil. The 51 Senators who stood with the 99 Percent received less than a quarter of that sum.

$24 MILLION for $24 BILLION in giveaways is a pretty good rate of return.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

Big Oil's lobbying arm claims that ads it's running against Senators who are up for re-election are "not related to campaign activities."

Ronald Reagan's Solicitor General says he's "appalled" by the "depressing" use of Tea Party non-facts by conservative Supreme Court justices during this week's oral arguments on Obamacare.

The Koch brothers are behind a Big Oil front group that just launched $3.6 MILLION in attack ads against the president.

Will this be the year that the host of golf's most fabled tournament finally allows women to be members?

Mitt Romney's first-world problem: the "tax problem" created by his $100 million IRA.

How not to get elected to Congress: cheat on your fiancée with a consultant in Washington, DC.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) says the generals are lying about their support for Obama's Pentagon budget.

A Republican meteorologist says acknowledging climate change doesn't make you liberal.

The disturbing and dangerous turn toward ethnic cleansing in Syria.

THINKPROGRESS | Center for American Progress Action Fund
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Koch Operative Steve Lonegan Offers Rude Gesture When We Ask About Lawsuit Over His Questionable Public Financing

" Last year, Steve Lebowitz and I published a story for ThinkProgress revealing that Steve Lonegan, a Republican candidate for New Jersey governor in 2009, made false statements in order to obtain millions in public funding for his election. Our report sparked a qui tam lawsuit by a citizen in New Jersey against Lonegan for defrauding the taxpayers of his state. Lonegan, however, doesn't seem interested in talking about the matter. In fact, he gave us a rude gesture when confronted about the issue. "

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Study Shows House Members Profit #p2 #tcot @RonPaul @usreprhinojosa @JoAnnEmerson @SilvestreReyes


WASHINGTON — One accusation long directed at Congress is that lawmakers come to this capital city not just to serve the American people but also to enrich themselves and their families.

For the House of Representatives, at least, there is now an encyclopedia of sorts that reinforces this suspicion.

A nonprofit ethics group here spent the last nine months examining every member of the House — for campaign spending, budget earmarks, office accounts and lobbying by any relatives — and found that the families of more than half of all the House lawmakers have received payments or otherwise benefited financially from their affiliation with a lawmaker in the two previous election cycles.

The 346-page report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements. It highlights common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves.

There are hundreds of examples to choose from, but here are just a few:

Campaign accounts of Representative Ron Paul, a Republican of Texas who is running for the party's presidential nomination, paid salaries or fees to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter's mother-in-law, granddaughter and grandson-in-law, totaling more than $300,000, according to the report.

Mr. Paul did not dispute the findings, though Jesse Benton, a spokesman, said, "Any implication that there is anything inappropriate is wildly off base."

Representative Rubén Hinojosa, Democrat of Texas, who paid two grandnieces and a son-in-law with his re-election campaign funds, also contributed money from his campaign account to his daughter's election bid for county clerk in Texas, and he helped secure a federal budget appropriation for a hospital where his wife serves on the board, according to the report.

Representative Jo Ann Emerson, Republican of Missouri, has two daughters who have worked in Washington as lobbyists, one for General Motors, the other for the chemical giant Monsanto, one of 44 House lawmakers who have a relative that is registered to lobby or at least works in government affairs, the report says.

Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas, has paid nearly $600,000 over the last two election cycles to himself or his family in reimbursements, salaries, consulting contracts and other payments, with some of the largest amounts going to his niece, Veronica Cintron, who served as a campaign fund-raiser. He even reimbursed thousands of dollars in charitable contributions that Ms. Cintron made over the last several years, the records show.

Most of these practices do not appear to violate any laws or House ethics rules. And it is extremely common for lawmakers to use campaign funds to reimburse themselves for expenses related to a re-election bid. Lawmakers asked for response uniformly defended their spending or other family ties.

But Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said that some of the payments at least raise questions. One such example is the use by Representative Michael Burges, Republican of Texas, of his campaign funds to renew his membership in a professional medical society — which at least appears to be a personal expense. (Mr. Burges did not respond to a request for comment.)

"Some things that aren't illegal may still raise serious ethical questions," Ms. Sloan said. "If donors really understood where their money is going, I think they would be aghast."

Lawmakers who use campaign funds to pay relatives should be required to disclose that the payment is going to a family member, Ms. Sloan said, and there should be more detailed accounting of reimbursements paid to lawmakers or their family members for campaign expenses.

In all, the "Family Affair" report — featuring a cartoon-style cover with lawmakers being served lobster and caviar and plates overflowing at a big dinner table — includes 248 House members, representing 105 Democrats and 143 Republicans, about equal to their parties' proportional makeup in the House.

Lawmakers earned a mention if the researchers were able to document any relative who served as a lobbyist, if the lawmaker or a relative had been paid a salary or consulting fee by the lawmaker's campaign or official government accounts, or received a campaign contribution from the House member's campaign fund.

Lawmakers were also included if they had helped direct federal spending — an "earmark" in Washington lingo — toward an organization affiliated with a relative, or if the lawmaker or relatives collected more than $10,000 in reimbursements from campaign accounts during the two election cycles.

The report — which involved examining detailed campaign finance documents that list individual campaign expenditures — turns up some odd reimbursements for individual lawmakers or their families, like baby-sitting bills paid on behalf of Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, or his wife, or the reimbursements to Representative Aaron Shock, Republican of Illinois, for hotel bills in Miami and Athens and a seaplane in the Caribbean.

A spokesman for Mr. Shock said that the Grand Bretagne Hotel Athens bill for $1,136 in 2009 was a personal expense and paid in error. Mr. Shock will refund his campaign for the bill.

The examination of these accounts also turned up records of loans granted by the lawmakers to their own campaigns, which often are repaid with interest. Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, for example, loaned his campaign $100,000 about a decade ago but then used campaign funds to pay back not only the principal but an additional $25,000 in interest on the loan, which he gave to his own campaign at a 6 percent interest rate.

"We have been in 100 percent compliance with the rules," said Colin Strother, a campaign spokesman, noting that the interest rate reflected the market rate at the time that the loan was given."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Tragedy Of Trayvon Martin - everything you need to know about the case:#p2 #tcot

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The Tragedy Of Trayvon Martin

Mar 20, 2012 | By Brad Johnson

On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old man. Zimmerman admits killing Martin, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, passed in 2005, allows people to use deadly force if they believe they're in imminent danger. Three weeks after Martin's death, no arrests have been made and Zimmerman remains free.

FBI tells ABC News they are monitoring the Trayvon Martin investigation and have been in touch with local authorities. Late Monday, March 20, after a letter from the NAACP, the United States Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney announced they were launching "a thorough and independent review" of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The Florida state attorney has sent the Trayvon Martin case to a grand jury. The Seminole County grand jury will be called to session on Tuesday, April 10.

Here's everything you need to know about the case:

1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin's "suspicious" behavior, which he described as "just walking around looking about." Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: "There's a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he's up to no good, on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away" [Orlando Sentinel]

2. Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:

Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Zimmerman: "Yeah"
Dispatcher: "OK, we don't need you to do that."

[Orlando Sentinel]

3. Prior to the release of the 911 tapes, Zimmerman's father released a statement claiming "[a]t no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin." [Sun Sentinel]

4. Zimmerman was carrying a a Kel Tel 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. [ABC News]

5. Martin weighed 140 pounds. Zimmerman weighs 250 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel; WDBO]

6. Martin's English teacher described him as "as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness." [Orlando Sentinel]

7. Martin had no criminal record. [New York Times]

8. Zimmerman "was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped." [Huffington Post]

9. Zimmerman called the police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. [Miami Herald]

10. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was "fixated on crime and focused on young, black males." [Miami Herald]

11. Zimmerman "had been the subject of complaints by neighbors in his gated community for aggressive tactics" [Huffington Post]

12. A police officer "corrected" a key witness. "The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help." [ABC News]

13. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired. "Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager's killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy." [Miami Herald]

14. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant's son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man. [New York Times]

15. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is "standard procedure in most homicide investigations." [ABC News]

16. In a cell phone call moments before his death, Martin told a teenage girl that he was "hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him." "'He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,' Martin's friend said. 'I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.' Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. 'Trayvon said, 'What, are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.'" [ABC News]

17. Zimmerman told the police "he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck." "He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life." [Miami Herald]

18. Zimmerman was not a member of a registered Neighborhood Watch group. Zimmerman also violated basic Neighborhood Watch guidelines by carrying a weapon. [ABC News]

19. Sanford police chief Bill Lee planned to wrap up the case last Monday without bringing any charges, because, he said, "there is no evidence to dispute the shooter's claim of self-defense," which is a sufficient claim under the "Stand Your Ground" law. [Miami Herald]

20. In the first five years "Stand Your Ground" was in effect, justifiable homicides tripled, and the law was a factor in at least 93 cases involving 65 deaths. An investigation of cases from the law's passage in 2005 to 2010 found that charges were dropped or dismissed for 57 people, and 7 others were acquitted. [Tampa Bay Times]

A petition created by Trayvon's parents to investigate his killing has been signed by over 500,000 people.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

An Illinois Republican is proposing a law that could disenfranchise 15 million Americans.

Mitt Romney says President Obama is causing a weak recovery. (He's not.)

Are conservatives trying to stop the administration's anti-bullying efforts?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced his new budget today, here are the 5 worst things about it.

The new House GOP budget also increases military spending and rolls back cuts supported by military leaders.

Mike Huckabee takes on Rush Limbaugh, giving radio stations a new choice in conservative talk radio during same time slot.

A former Goldman Sachs partner says the firm should heed the warning of a scathing op-ed from a former employee, and admits company duped costumers.

Fox News hosts are blind to the network's role in pushing the myth that Obama is a Muslim.

THINKPROGRESS | Center for American Progress Action Fund
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor | Washington, DC 20005

How to Get Away With Murder and Other Things the Killing of Unarmed Black Teen Trayvon Martin Teaches Us

"If you want to kill someone and get away with it, do it before the NBA All-Star game.

Appoint yourself captain of the neighborhood watch. Don't set it up with the national program. The national program won't let you carry a gun or pursue suspects. Do it in a gated development where your black neighbors — 20 percent of the community — are targets of suspicion afraid of leaving their homes. Drive around in an SUV and keep an eye out for suspicious individuals. Look for young black men, the kind you've warned people about, the kind you think "always get away." Monitor the 7-11. Find someone who "looks like he's up to no good, or [is] on drugs, or something," someone "carrying something," someone "looking about."

Call 911.

Describe the suspicious person to the dispatcher, the way you always do, the way you've done at least nine times before. There have been a lot of break-ins in this neighborhood. You've probably spoken to this dispatcher before. You called the police 46 times last year. Say, "He's a black male... He's got a button on his shirt. Late teens." Tell the dispatcher that "something's wrong with him." The dispatcher will tell you that police are on their way. He'll tell you not to follow the kid.

Do it anyway. He's running. Find him. Wrestle with him. Shoot him, once.

If you want to kill someone and get away with it, tell the police that he attacked you. Tell them you stepped out of your SUV, because you wanted to look at the name of the street you were on. Tell them the kid jumped you from behind. Even if he didn't have a criminal record. Even if he was an A and B student. Even if you have 110 pounds on him. Even if he was staying at his father's fiancé's house, and carrying Skittles and iced tea he'd bought before the game at the local 7-11."

TaxMasters files for bankruptcy LOL

"MoneyWatch) A few days ago, I wrote about how to settle your tax debts using an Offer in Compromise, or OIC. This is an agreement where the IRS and the taxpayer settle the tax liability for less than the full amount owed. In closing, I also wrote, "And don't go for those pitchmen claiming their services will settle your tax debts for 'pennies on the dollar!'"

Well, it looks like there will be one less tax settlement firm making these pitches.

TaxMasters, the Houston, Texas-based company that held itself out to provide services to settle taxpayers' debts for less and recover property seized by the IRS, has filed for bankruptcy. According to reports, the company filed for Chapter 11, listing assets of less than $5,000 and up to 5,000 creditors after it failed to secure capital funding

The firm, famous for its national advertising campaign, is also being sued by the State of Texas for allegedly violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Texas claims that TaxMasters TV commercials encourage people to call for a free consultation with a tax specialist but the calls are answered by salespeople unqualified to provide tax advice. They also allege TaxMasters delays providing its services until it collects all of its fees, even if it causes the taxpayer to miss important IRS deadlines.

There are several very important lessons to be learned from this event. First, for folks who are struggling to pay their tax debts, the IRS offers the option to pay their tax debts over time. Making a partial payment of what you owe and filing an Online Payment Agreement Application is better than not filing and not paying at all. And if there is any doubt as to the liability or ability to pay, then taxpayers should file the Offer in Compromise, which is something you can do yourself or with the help of your tax preparer. If you are in serious tax trouble and need professional help, then consider hiring a tax lawyer, a CPA or an enrolled agent, who is licensed to practice before the IRS.

Also, if you receive a notice in regard to your taxes, always respond by the notice date. And if a payment is requested, make it on time. Even sending a partial payment on time with a request for a payment plan is better than sending nothing at all. Doing so will help to reduce penalties for not responding and paying on time."

Ryan Budget: take health insurance away from millions, eliminates federal government except for entitlements and defense spending #p2 #tcot @gop

"Imagine a politician held a press conference in order to boast about a plan that would take health insurance away from tens of millions of people, while effectively eliminating the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending. You probably can't, because no politician would ever do that.

Except Paul Ryan just did.

No, he didn't put it in quite those terms. Instead, Ryan on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of his proposal for the federal budget, which he calls the "Path to Prosperity." He vowed that it would reduce deficits, promote economic growth, and strengthen the safety net. The first two claims are dubious, at best. The third is just dishonest—and, if taken literally, morally bankrupt.

From afar and even up close, the new Ryan budget actually looks a lot like the old Ryan budget. It calls for a reduction in taxes that, if implemented, would likely give a disproportionate share of benefits to the wealthy. It calls for radically reducing discretionary spending, so that it is less than 4 percent of gross domestic product by 2050. And it calls for transforming Medicare into a voucher system."

rest at

Analysis of the FY 2013 House Republican Budget Resolution - fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility #p2 #tcot @gop

"The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared 
responsibility.  It would shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax 
cut of at least $150,000, while preserving taxpayer giveaways to oil companies 
and breaks for Wall Street hedge fund managers.  What's worse is that all of 
these tax breaks would be paid for by undermining Medicare and the very things we 
need to grow our economy and the middle class - things like education, basic 
research, and new sources of energy. And instead of strengthening Medicare, the 
House budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning the guarantee of 
retirement security into a voucher that will shift higher and higher costs to
seniors over time.

The House economic plan draws on the same wrong-headed theory that led to the 
worst recession of our lifetimes and contributed to the erosion of middle-class 
security over the last decade.  And the President believes we cannot return to a 
failed theory that didn't lead to the growth of jobs, incomes, or the economy.  
That's why he put forward a balanced approach that reduces the deficit by over $4 
trillion.  It's an approach that asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, 
makes tough cuts to programs we can't afford, and strengthens Medicare with 
reforms that would end subsidies to drug companies, improve the quality of care, 
and protect Medicare's commitment to America's seniors."

Trayvon Martin A ‘Little Thug Ghetto Monkey.’ @FoxNews Readers Set New High Water Mark For Racism #p2 #tcot

"The right has truly perfected the Orwellian art of doublespeak. While screaming out of one mouth that liberals are the real racists (seriously, they do. Google it), conservatives, who will swear on a stack of Republican Bibles, engage in some of the most vile racism outside of a Ron Paul newsletter. has posted a partial list of the comments regarding the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. You'll recall that Trayvon, armed with Skittles and a bottle of iced tea, was stalked by George Zimmerman and shot for the crime of walking while black. Three weeks on and Zimmerman has yet to be arrested. The Department of Justice and the FBI have announced that they will be investigating this…oversight as a hate crime. Apparently this has outraged the Fox News commentator community.

Warning: The following conservative responses are disturbing in the extreme.

What a shame—a tragedy, really— because the dead lil' gangsta could've used "'A-FIRM-TIV AK-SHUN" to go to kollige an play footballz and make lotsa cash munny!""

Paul Ryan would eliminate the non-health care, non-military, non-social security federal government:

"Ezra Klein wrote a smart post yesterday detailing what he terms "unrealistic assumptions" lurking in Paul Ryan's budget proposal. Calling them assumptions seems like a mistake to me. Ryan is offering a policy proposal. To assume the proposal will pass into law is unrealistic as such, but if it did pass the law of the land would be what it is. The key thing here is that under Ryan's plan the entire nonmilitary non-Social Security non-Medicare non-Medicaid federal government would have to get by on 3.75 percent of GDP. That's not an "assumption" it would be, rather, a legislative requirement that's binding on federal appropriators."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Santorum comes off as a populist machine voice emitter as his mindless supporters applaud - its over; you're done pal #p2 #tcot @gop

You are beholden to big business, no matter how you spin it. You were about to touch on how dependent people are in this country to the gov't for basic needs but because you don't have a teleprompter you realized you were about to put your foot in your mouth. You're a dead brained lobbyist who has been programmed to speak. Stay in PA, fool.

listening to Bain capital job destroyer @gop candidate Mitt Romney hurl jibes at Potus

This dick thinks its laughable to insult Potus for teaching Constitutional Law.

Mitt , as head of Bain Capital, bought distressed companies, laid off tons of people, and flipped those companies for huge profits. Mitt calls himself a champion, a job creator. He makes money on money. He destroys lives under the guise of entrepreneurship. Mitt is full of crap and like others of his ilk, want to maintain the status quo so that Plutocrats like Mitt continue to feast and become super wealthy.

Listening to his stupid ass faced followers cheer as this pirate, this plunderer of capital, touts himself as a dreamer and job creator. These people are clueless.

But things could be worse - Santorum could be winning.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple cash staying overseas because of taxes, company says

"Apple is planning to spend an estimated $45 billion of its cash reserves in the next three years, as part of a program the company announced Monday that includes the first dividend for shareholders since 1995.
But not one penny of that is slated to come from the roughly $64 billion the company has stashed overseas. That's because Apple, like other corporations, is loath to pay the heavy tax hit for repatriating that money.
"We do not want to incur the tax cost to repatriate the foreign cash at this time," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer told investors and analysts during a conference call Monday.
(Also on POLITICO: IRS data protections found lacking)
Along with Google and Microsoft, Apple is among a bevy of tech giants pushing for a tax holiday on more than $1 trillion in foreign profits.
The issue has been a hot topic on the Hill. A bill on the subject by Texas Republican Kevin Brady has 109 co-sponsors. But critics say repatriation is a bad tax policy that rewards the biggest U.S. multinational firms for not paying their fair share of taxes.
The Obama administration has said it would support a tax holiday on foreign earnings only as part of a broader overhaul of the tax code. But Obama's tax reform blueprint, rolled out last month, shunned the idea. It's an issue that's sure to come up again as tax reform discussions heat up on Capitol Hill.

@Foxnews 's Varney Attacks "Feel Good" Food Stamp Program As Hunger Reaches Elevated Levels #p2 #tcot

"Fox's Stuart Varney dismissed the federal food stamp program as an "entitlement" that "make[s] you feel good" and attacked an outreach program intended to ensure that people know whether they are eligible for benefits, suggesting it was being used by the Obama administration to "buy votes." But the food stamp program -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- is effective and necessary as the number of hungry Americans has reached elevated levels, and the SNAP outreach program goes back at least to President George W. Bush.

Varney Attacks SNAP As A "Feel Good" "Entitlement" That Dems Use To "Buy Votes"

Varney: Informing People Of SNAP Eligibility Creates "An Entitlement Nation" And "Make[s] You Feel Good." On the March 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney attacked an outreach program for SNAP, asking "can we afford" to "reach out and give people food" and claiming that expanding SNAP coverage leads to "an entitlement nation" by making people "feel good." From Fox & Friends:"

@Foxnews 's Johnson: Contraception Rule Is "The Most Unprecedented And Radical Intrusion Into Religious Freedom" In A Century

All Major News Outlets Cover Trayvon Martin Tragedy, Except Fox News @foxnews @gop #p2 #tcot

"Since his tragic death on February 26, Trayvon Martin — an unarmed 17-year-old African-American shot by "neighborhood watch volunteer" George Zimmerman — has become national news. Martin, a good student with no criminal record, was killed by Zimmerman on his way home from the 7-11. Zimmerman was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. (If you are unfamilar with the story, check out our primer on what everyone should know about Trayvon Martin.)

Martin has merited coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. The story has been covered by all three broadcast networks and extensively on cable. But there is one outlet that has barely mentioned Trayvon Martin — Fox News.

Here's a breakdown of the coverage of Trayvon Martin on the three major cable networks from the day of his death through today at noon:"

Arizona’s ALEC Leader Wants Your Boss to Make Decisions About Your Contraception Coverage #p2 #tcot @gop

"One of the most extreme proposals yet in a recent spate of attacks on women's reproductive health comes out of Arizona. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Arizona State Chair, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R), is sponsoring a new bill that allows employers to pry into the sexual life of female employees.

The Arizona Legislature is considering Lesko's new bill which would grant all employers, not just those that are religiously affiliated, the option to exclude contraceptives from health insurance coverage. The only exception is if a woman can "prove," by disclosing private medical information, that she is taking the contraceptives for other medical reasons.

Arizona already has a law on the books that allows religious employers to deny such coverage, but the current bill would modify the law to allow any employer (or :mom and pop" businesses as Lesko tries to spin it) to make the same exclusion.

While women are still free to go out and buy their own insurance in the free market, the bill specifically removes a provision in the current state law that prohibits religious employers from discriminating against an employee who chooses to use birth control pills and pay for them out of pocket. This has prompted observers to suggest that employers will be allowed to fire employees that don't have union protection if they disagree with their health care choices. Or as put it "the law will allow employers to fire women for using whore pills."

"We don't live in the Soviet Union"

The bill's author, claims the bill responds to a contraceptive mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law March 2010.

"We don't live in the Soviet Union," Lesko told the State Press. "And so government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that's against their moral beliefs."

Bryan Howard of Arizona Planned Parenthood called the measure "an attack on women's health care and their ability to make health care decisions for themselves and their families according to their faith," not their bosses.

Arizona college student Megan Riley said the employer doesn't have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. "Taking away birth control is not a religious freedom," Riley said. "It's oppression.""

fascism: Chicago Police Detain Reporters “Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you’re creating a scene,”

"Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you're creating a scene," the officer who handcuffed the reporters said. Video from their exchange shows no "scene" to speak of beyond the tension between police and reporters.

what assholes: "Illinois Republican primary voters: President Obama is a secret Muslim and might not be American" #p2 #tcot @gop

head in sand
Public Policy Polling (PDF). March 17-18. Illinois likely Republican primary voters. ±4.4%.
Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?
Christian: 24
Muslim: 39
Not sure: 37

Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?
Was born in U.S.: 36
Not born in U.S.: 36
Not sure: 28

Do you believe in evolution, or not?
Believe in evolution: 41
Do not: 43
Not sure: 16

Of course, President Obama is a Christian, he was born in the United States, and evolution is quite real. If you believe otherwise, you're either ignorant or hateful or both. (Well, to be fair, your belief—or lack thereof—in evolution doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not you are hateful.)

It's been fashionable in some circles to suggest that when PPP asked these questions ofAlabama and Mississippi Republican primary voters, it was trying to trick Republican voters into saying mean things. If that's what you believe, then you also believe that Republican primary voters are incapable of answering the questions that PPP asked, the wording of which is presented above.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Occupy Miami Raided, SWAT Team Draws Weapons on Children #p2 #tcot

"This week, I've been exploring all the different types of ways police and the District Attorney's office in New York have been monitoring, bullying, and harassing Occupiers. Of course, this civil liberties accosting is by no means isolated to the New York City area as we saw on Tuesday when dozens of police equipped with shotguns and assault rifles stormed a Miami, Florida apartment and drew their weapons on peaceful protesters and children with the local Occupy Wall Street campaign."

rest at

Friday, March 16, 2012

Social Security Direct Deposit Tax Email A Fraud #p2 #tcot

"Here's the real scoop:

Yes, it is true that the Treasury Department will begin phasing out paper checks. And yes, federal benefit recipients, including those who receive Social Security, will be required to either get their payments by direct deposit or in the form of a prepaid, rechargeable debit card (it will be a MasterCard®). The switch has to take place in about a year, on March 1, 2013 (and not January 2013). If you're already using direct deposit, nothing will change.

The switch is intended to save tax dollars; paper checks currently cost taxpayers nearly $120 million. That number is expected to dramatically increase as the number of baby boomers nearing retirement age explodes. Some estimates take the savings up to a billion, though I'm not sure how accurate that really is.

That new rule, though, has zero to do with H.R. 4646."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

this is beyond politics: this is a general disdain for human dignity @gop Pennsylvania Governor, On Ultrasound Mandate: Just 'Close Your Eyes' #p2 #tcot

"During a discussion of a far-reaching mandatory ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Wednesday dismissed off-handedly the insinuation that the measure goes too far, saying, "You just have to close your eyes."

Corbett reaffirmed his support for the "Women's Right to Know" Act, which would require doctors to perform an ultrasound on a patient, offer her two personalized copies of the image and play and describe fetal heartbeat in detail before she can have an abortion -- "as long as it's not obtrusive."

He did not indicate whether or not he considered a transvaginal ultrasound to be an intrusive procedure, which the bill would require doctors to perform on a woman whose fetus is not developed enough to be visible by a regular, "jelly-on-the-belly" ultrasound.

Asked if he thinks the bill goes too far to make a woman look at the ultrasound image, Corbett responded, "You can't make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it's on the exterior and not the interior."

Pennsylvania's ultrasound bill, unlike the revised version passed in Virginia, does not specify a type of ultrasound, so the doctor will have to use an "interior" procedure for most first-trimester abortions in order to meet the requirements of the law.

Even if the woman opts to "close [her] eyes," as Corbett suggests, the doctor will have to turn the ultrasound image toward her face, give her two signed copies of the printed image, describe the number of heartbeats per minute and tell her if that's normal or not for a fetus of that age. She then has to wait 24 hours and bring all the signed paperwork and both ultrasound images to her abortion doctor in order to have the procedure legally, and the doctor has to repeat to her the age of the fetus."