Tuesday, July 31, 2012

.@nytkeller hey asshole: when Romney uses tax code for his benefit to make millions its not entitlement. But when we want medicine and social insurance, tear it down. Fuck off. Dick.

from  http://www.progressive.org/bill_keller_misguided_attacks_on_entitlements.html

What's a boomer to do?

That seems to be the current obsession of Bill Keller, columnist (and former executive editor) of The New York Times.

In his column on Monday, he squandered hundreds of words about the Baby Boom generation, rehashing the argument over whether it is self-absorbed and concluding (hold your breath here!) that "we are an entitled bunch."

Then he used this creaky springboard to jump all over so-called entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

He bought the bogus conservative argument that these programs are unsustainable, and he falsely argued that cuts in military spending or raising taxes on the rich couldn't possibly fill the funding gap.

rest at http://www.progressive.org/bill_keller_misguided_attacks_on_entitlements.html

reason #1124 to hate Republicans: Louisiana Voucher Program Includes Schools That Teach Creationism, Reject Evolution #p2 #tcot

"Public dollars in Louisiana's landmark new voucher program will go toward sending children to schools that teach creationism and reject evolution, the Associated Press reports.

Under the new initiative, the most sweeping voucher program in the country, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars will be shifted from public schools to pay private schools, private businesses and private tutors to educate students across Louisiana.

The program is the cornerstone of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's bold effort to reform public education in the state. Critics are concerned about funding and fairness -- vouchers would cover the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools, including small, Bible-based church schools. Jindal says the program will spur school competition and expand parental choice.

Several of those religious schools that will be receiving public funds to take in new students from public schools also teach curricula that question the age of the universe, defying scientific evidence and theory and promote religious doctrine that "challenges the lessons central to public school science classrooms," according to the AP.

"What they're going to be getting financed with public money is phony science. They're going to be getting religion instead of science," Barbara Forrest, a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, told AP.

Proponents of vouchers say that the program expands horizons for students stuck in troubled schools. Opponents point out that vouchers erode public schools by pulling funding out of the system and violate the separation of church and state by sending public dollars to patriarchal private schools. Voucher programs also have yet to yield improvements in student test scores."

dickhead: @gop Rep. Steve King Defends Dog Fighting #p2 #tcot

" If you believe that the United States should legalize dogfighting because we allow humans to fight, fear not. You've got an ally in the United States Congress.

During a tele-townhall late last week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) fielded a question about his opposition to animal rights and recently introduced legislation that would undermine local standards preventing animal torture. "It's wrong to rate animals above human beings," he told the questioner. To make his point, King argued that "there's something wrong" for society to make it a "federal crime to watch animals fight" but "it's not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting."

KING: When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it's a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it's not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there's something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.

Watch it:"

rest at 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Morgan Freeman Donates $1 Million to Obama Super PAC #p2 #tcot

"Actor Morgan Freeman has lent his iconic voice to President Barack Obama's reelection bid—in the form of a seven-figure check. The Oscar-winner announced this week that he had donated $1 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.

"President Obama has done a remarkable job in historically difficult circumstances," Freeman said in a statement about his hefty donation. "I am proud to lend my voice—and support—to those who defend him." He also urged others to follow suit in funding the super PAC."

Massive Spam Botnet Taken Out By Security Teams

"Good news for your inbox: Internet security teams say they have thwarted the third largest botnet in operation, thought to be the culprit behind some 18 percent of the world's spam emails.

The BBC reports that security company, FireEye, and spam-tracking service SpamHaus, collaborated with local Internet service providers to track and shut down the four-year-old botnet Grum earlier this week. The takedown sends a clear message to the world's spammers, Atif Mushtaq, a FireEye security researcher wrote, "We don't need your cheap Viagra or fake Rolex.""

White House goes to war with Ernst and Young

"Barack Obama says that extending breaks for America's middle-class and hiking taxes on the rich will help the country's economy. Accounting firm Ernst and Young argue otherwise, though, and a war is now brewing between the White House and its foes.

Despite pleas from US President Obama that his signature tax proposal will answer America's financial woes, a new report out of the offices of Ernst and Young alleges that, if followed through as planned, "major flaws, errors and misleading statements" in the White House's agenda could cost the country as many as 710,000 jobs.

Following the release of the accountants' analysis, the official WhiteHouse.gov blog has fired back in a series of arguments penned by senior Obama economic policy aide Jason Furman.

That isn't to say that the battle is ending there, though.

Furman writes that Ernst and Young's argument comes by way of pro-businesses groups historically hostile towards the commander-in-chief and mischaracterizes much of what the president actually has planned. He also argues that the Ernst and Young report ignores not just the other points supported by the president that are intended to only aid in America's economic growth, but counter opinions by other experts.

"Even setting aside the fact that the study ignores the effects of the president's tax proposals on short-term growth and long-term deficit reduction, the conclusions are still dramatically out-of-line with estimates by other analysts, including not only the Congressional Budget Office but also the Bush Administration Treasury Department," Furman writes."The authors' unrealistic assumptions lead them to find a larger increase in long-run output and about twice as large an effect on employment over the long-run as the Bush Administration Treasury Department found when conducting a similar analysis of extending the high-income tax cuts."

Right on cue, one of the administration's most infamous critics — House majority lead John Boehner (R-Ohio) — has sided with the Ernst and Young report.

"Our economy is still struggling under President Obama's policies, and his massive tax hike will only make things tougher," Boehner argues in an official statement this week. "It's one of the worst possible ideas at one of the worst possible times for families and small businesses."

Ernst and Young say that Obama's proposal would cost the country not just 710,000 fewer jobs, but as much as $200 billion, as well as drops in capital stock and a decline in workers' living standards relative to what would occur without his agenda going into effect."

Republicans Twist Flawed Study To Claim Higher Taxes On Wealthy Would Harm Economy #p2 #tcot

Republicans are citing a new report (PDF) by economists at the accounting firm Ernst & Young to claim that President Obama's plan to allow Bush tax cuts benefitting high-income earners to expire could have serious macroeconomic consequences, including 710,000 job losses.

Major business trade associations, including the Republican friendly Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, commissioned the analysis. And according to independent economists, there's reason to be skeptical of its assumptions, and of the way the findings are being portrayed in the political realm.

"Seems odd that the researchers didn't consider the scenario in which the additional tax revenues are used for deficit reduction," said Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi. "It seems to me that is the more relevant scenario. And my sense is that if they did, the results would be very different."

Indeed, the Ernst & Young study forecasts based on two different assumptions: That the higher revenues are either used to finance across the board tax cuts, or to finance new government spending. It's only in the latter scenario that the analysts forecast significant economic contraction.

"It is telling that when the additional tax revenues are used for across the board tax cuts, then the negative GDP impact is largely washed out and the employment impact is positive," Zandi says.

The authors of the report did not respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

Dean Baker, co-founder of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research offered a similar observation. "It calculated the impact of a tax increase that is used for higher government consumption spending. It does not measure the impact of a tax increase that is used either for deficit reduction or investment in infrastructure and education," Baker wrote. "The model used in this analysis would likely to show that either of these two uses of higher tax revenue would lead to increases in output, jobs, and wages, not decreases."

In a followup email, Baker also noted that one of the report's key assumptions is ahistorical.

Congressional leaders shy from releasing their own income tax returns

WASHINGTON – A top Democratic leader said Mitt Romney's reluctance to release a fuller accounting of his income tax returns makes him "the most secretive candidate for president in modern history," but other congressional leaders showed little interest in personally being held to the same disclosure standard.

"That's my private business," said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who ran a small business in plastics when he was first elected 20 years ago. He called the debate over Romney's personal income taxes a "sideshow."

And Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the minority leader who is among the wealthier members of Congress, gave a long explanation for not releasing her own tax returns, suggesting somewhat in jest that perhaps the media should disclose its tax information.

"When I run for the president of the United States, you can hold me to the  same standard," Pelosi said.

On Wednesday, John McCain spoke against Michele Bachmann’s claim that Islamists have infiltrated the federal government

The fastest, easiest way to download YouTube videos for offline viewing

"Windows: YouTube download tools come and go, but Direct YouTube Downloader is a feature-packed tool that lets you download all of your favorites at one time, download an entire YouTube channel at once, lets you pick the resolution to download, and will even convert those video to play on your preferred mobile device after downloading.

Direct YouTube Downloader can definitely download the occasional video whenever you find one you want to take with you on the train or watch offline, but it really shines when you have a lot of videos you want to download at once. For example, if you're planning a cross-country trip and want to binge on episodes of The Lifehacker Show, you could use the app to download our entire channel, or just a playlist of all of our episodes. If you just want to download all of your favorite videos to watch on a plane trip, you can set the app against your favorite videos and download them all in one go as well."

rest at http://lifehacker.com/5927303/direct-youtube-downloader-downloads-entire-channels-or-all-your-favorites-in-glorious-hd?utm_campaign=socialflow_lifehacker_facebook&utm_source=lifehacker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Iceland Jails Bankers, Erases Citizens’ Debt, Recovers Strongly

" Seriously, the most advanced place on Earth. Bloombergwrites:

Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country's economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.

Since the end of 2008, the island's banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population.

The island's steps to resurrect itself since 2008, when its banks defaulted on $85 billion, are proving effective. Iceland's economy will this year outgrow the euro area and the developed world on average, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates."

Bachmann's former campaign manager speaks out: ‘I Am Fully Aware That She Sometimes Has Difficulty With Her Facts’

" Ed Rollins, a longtime GOP strategist and the former campaign manager for Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign, penned an op-ed for Fox News' website today slamming the Minnesota congresswoman for her recent remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's Chief of Staff Huma Abedin.

Bachmann has been roundly condemned by members of her own party for suggesting that Abedin, the wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, is part of a coordinated effort to undermine or diminish the United States' response to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Shame on you, Michele!" writes Rollins, before unleashing a wave of criticism on his former boss:

Her unsubstantiated charge against Abedin, a widely respected top aide to Secretary Hillary Clinton, accusing her of some sort of far-fetched connection to the Muslim brotherhood, is extreme and dishonest.

Having worked for Congressman Bachman's campaign for president, I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level.'"

Ann Romney says "you people" have all the information you need to know about their financial situation #p2 #tcot

from  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/19/1111627/-Ann-Romney-You-People 

Politico is reporting that Ann Romney has stepped into the ring to battle against further disclosure of financial data and tax returns, quoting her as follows:

Ann Romney dismissed concerns about her husband's tax returns Thursday, contending that the two of them have "given all you people need to know.

You people.

"We've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life," she added later.

I don't know about you, but where I come from, that's called high falutin' and condescending. I wonder if her nose was in the air when she said it? No video accompanies.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/...

.@gop Tell House Republicans: Stop disrespecting military servicewomen #p2 #tcot

here  http://campaigns.dailykos.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=175

Romney's panicked about Bain and he's panicked about his taxes.

" Via Greg Sargent, here's the latest attempt by Mitt Romney to move past Bain and his tax returns (my emphasis):
The Romney campaign is out with a new Web video hitting Obama over the "don't build that" quote. It features a business owners who is angry at Obama for supposedly insulting his hard work. "My hands didn't build this company?" the man asks. "Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?"

But the video deceptively edits Obama's remarks to seamlessly link up two different parts of the speech, removing a chunk in order to make Obama's remarks seem far worse than they are.

As a reminder, President Obama said:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you've got a business -- you didn't build that.
So "that" = "roads and bridges." It equals the American economic system and the teachers and other people who helped you along the way. Nothing about that is controversial. Mitt Romneysaid the exact same thing yesterday.

But according to Romney's edited video (which you can see at the right) this is what Obama said:

If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be 'cause I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obama’s Support Among Latinos Reaches a New High

President Obama, who has always done well with Latinos, has seen his level of support from the community pushed to a new high. According to a national poll from Latino Decisions, President Obama is now winning an incredible 70 percent of the Latino vote compared to Romney who is only getting 22 percent. From Latino Decisions:

We are seeing the ramifications of the recent Republican policy shift on all matters immigration. Latino voters have traditionally favored Democrats, but not long ago both parties at least made real efforts to try to win over this voting group. It was just five years ago that George W. Bush did a lot of outreach to Latinos and even made a real push for comprehensive immigration reform.

rest at http://elections.firedoglake.com/2012/07/18/obamas-support-among-latinos-reaches-a-new-high/

Republicans Will Not Bring Jobs Home

" Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!  Republicans lave looked for them between women's legs.  They have looked for them in Obama's birth certificate.  They have looked for them everywhere that will create no jobs.  They parrot the need to protect the job creators, but we are the job creators, and they have done nothing to protect us.  Their policies have created millions of jobs, but they created what used to be our jobs in China and other cheap labor markets.  They could help bring jobs home, but they will not. "

Capital One To Refund $140 Million To Customers Misled Into Buying Unwanted Add-Ons


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the barbarians and/or vikings at Capital One went too far in pressuring and misleading the bank's credit card customers into paying for add-on products like payment protection and credit monitoring. Thus, around two million Cap One customers will be sharing in a refund of $140 million.

This is the first big-time enforcement action from the CFPB, which says that when some Capital One customers called up to activate their new cards, company reps would do everything they could to upsell them on unnecessary and unwanted services.

Among the CFPB's allegations:

* Capital One misled customers about the benefits of the products:
Company reps would sometimes tell customers that these add-on services would improve their credit scores and help them increase the credit limit on their Capital One credit card.

*Deceived customers about the nature of the products:
Capital One staffers sometimes forgot to mention that these services were optional. In other cases, says the CFPB, "consumers were wrongly told they were required to purchase the product in order to receive full information about it, but that they could cancel the product if they were not satisfied. Many of these consumers later had difficulty canceling when they called to do so."

Misled consumers about eligibility: Many of these so-called protection services are only intended to protect customers who lose their jobs or go on disability. Thus, customers who were already unemployed or on disability should not have been eligible. Yet, Capital One continued to enroll ineligible customers in these programs.

Misinformed customers about cost of the products: Some Cap One staffers led customers to believe the services were free.

Enrolled customers without their consent: Not only were some customers being enrolled without giving full consent, they also later had difficulty cancelling the services.

"Today's action puts $140 million back in the pockets of two million Capital One customers who were pressured or misled into buying credit card products they didn't understand, didn't want, or in some cases, couldn't even use," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray, taking time off from his duties as an NBC Studios page. "We are putting companies on notice that these deceptive practices are against the law and will not be tolerated."

In addition to the $140 million refund, Capital One will pay a $25 million penalty for its transgressions.

The $140 million will go to all of the estimated two million consumers who either initially enrolled in one of these products on or after August 1, 2010, or who tried to cancel a product on or after August 1, 2010, but were persuaded to keep the product after speaking with a call center representative.

rest at http://consumerist.com/2012/07/capital-one-to-refund-140-million-to-customers-misled-into-buying-unwanted-add-ons.html

Minnesota Town Bans Signs in Yards Unless They're Pro-War

At a festival called Peacestock in Wisconsin last weekend, I met a woman who lives in Little Falls, Minnesota.  That city had forced her to take down signs in her own yard, signs that said "Occupy Wall Street," "Back the 99 Percent" and "Boycott Monsanto."

But Robin Hensel noticed that the city itself was displaying, in violation of the same ordinance, a banner reading "We Support Our Troops." 

For anyone who's been visiting outerspace for the past half-century, "support our troops" is, of course, a phrase meaning "support whatever wars our government engages in."  Thus, we ocassionally see signs reading "Support our troops: Bring them home," a message that is understood to reverse the common meaning of "support our troops" by giving it a literal interpretation. 

Well, Hensel proposed that the banner come down, in compliance with the law -- acting on the idea that even bad laws should be enforced fairly. 

And then came the death threats.

These kinds of incidents -- and I've been through them too, and can testify to the viciousness the threats can take on -- expose the darker meaning behind "support our troops."  That meaning is "death to the other side."  Needless to say, the work of troops is killing.  Those on the other side in a war are supposed to die.  The official bragging about how many have died, so common during the Vietnam War, has not been entirely absent from the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Hensel placed herself in the enemy camp, in the minds of some war proponents.  And therefore she needed to die.  The threats flooded in.

Hensel was also turned down by the city in a request for permission to set up an Occupy encampment, but corporate groups were permitted to do everything she'd requested and more.

rest at http://warisacrime.org/content/minnesota-town-bans-signs-yards-unless-theyre-pro-war

Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Obama Administration’s Contraception Mandate

A Nebraska federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit in which Republican attorneys general in seven states tried to block the Obamacare provision requiring contraceptive coverage in employer-provided insurance plans.

The seven state officials, along with three Nebraska-based Catholic institutions, filed their lawsuit on false grounds that the ACA's contraceptive provision violates the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty by forcing Catholics to pay for contraception against their beliefs. However, churches and other places of worship are already exempt, and the regulation also includes a work-around for Catholic-affiliated institutions who object to birth control so they can refer employees to an outside insurer for contraception coverage.

U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom ruled that the lawsuit is without merit, just as it appeared on the surface. Urbom pointed out that there is no evidence that religious groups are being forced to violate their conscience, especially since the provision will not go into effect until 2013:

URBOM: Although the rule that lies at the heart of the plaintiffs' complaint establishes a definitive, final definition of 'religious employer,' the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirements are not being enforced against non-exempted religious organizations, and the rule is currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate these organizations.

The plaintiffs face no direct and immediate harm, and one can only speculate whether the plaintiffs will ever feel any effects from the rule when the temporary enforcement safe harbor terminates. This case clearly involves 'contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all'…and therefore it is not ripe for review. None of the plaintiffs have established that they have standing to challenge the rule, and even if I were to assume that they did have standing, their claims are not ripe.

rest at http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/07/18/538181/judge-contraception-mandate-lawsuit/

States could leave millions of low-income people uninsured

The new Medicaid "doughnut hole"

From the Washington Post –

For Gov. Rick Perry, saying "no" to the federal health care law could also mean turning away up to 1.3 million Texans, nearly half the uninsured people who could be newly eligible for coverage in his state.

Gov. Chris Christie not only would be saying "no" to President Barack Obama, but to as many as 245,000 uninsured New Jersey residents as well.

The Supreme Court's recent ruling gave governors new flexibility to reject what some Republicans deride as "Obamacare." But there's a downside, too.

States that reject the law's Medicaid expansion risk leaving behind many of their low-income uninsured residents in a coverage gap already being called the new "doughnut hole" — a reference to a Medicare gap faced by seniors.

Medicaid is a giant federal-state health insurance program for the poor, now mostly covering children, mothers and disabled people. The expansion in Obama's health care overhaul was originally expected to add roughly 15 million uninsured low-income people, mainly adults without children, who currently are not eligible in most states. Washington would pick up the entire cost for the first three years, with the federal share then dropping to 90 percent. The Medicaid expansion accounts for about half the total number of uninsured people projected to get coverage under the law.

If every state were to reject that Medicaid expansion — as the Supreme Court ruling now allows — some low-income people would still be picked up by other coverage provisions meant to help the middle class.

But nearly 11.5 million uninsured people below the federal poverty line would be left behind in a new coverage gap, according to recent estimates from the Urban Institute. That brings to mind the infamous "doughnut hole" in the Medicare prescription drug benefit, in which seniors with high drug costs find themselves paying out of pocket much of the year.

Those who fall into the new gap would neither qualify for Medicaid in their states under current rules nor be eligible for subsidized private insurance in new state marketplaces that Obama's law calls exchanges.

rest at http://www.healthcare-now.org/states-could-leave-millions-of-low-income-people-uninsured

Nurses Union Will Keep Fighting for Medicare for All

By Rose Ann DeMoro for the Nation –

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, former insurance company executive Wendell Potter's appeal to single payer advocates to "bury the hatchet," recently published in The Nation, is both misdirected and shortsighted.

Potter argues that insurance industry pirates will exploit left critiques of the ACA to subvert implementation of the law. He calls on proponents of more comprehensive reform to forgive and forget, embracing the massive concessions made by the Obama administration and its liberal allies.

But there are some gaping holes in this thinking.

First, the insurers hardly need to rely on the single-payer movement to sabotage elements of the law they don't like. They have office towers full of high-priced lawyers who are adept at identifying loopholes in the much-touted consumer protection provisions, like the bans on pre-existing condition exclusions or dropping coverage when patients get sick, or limiting how much money can be siphoned off for profits and paperwork.

Second, let's not have illusions about the history of the ACA.

Before he was elected, President Obama, an advocate of single-payer when he was in the Senate, called on progressives to push him. Instead, most of the liberals reduced themselves to cheerleading while all the pressure came from the right.

So when the healthcare bill was introduced, the President, with the active encouragement of groups like Health Care for America Now, blocked single payer from consideration. Persuading people through consent, rather than coercion, to accept inadequate solutions for societal needs has long been a key feature of the neoliberal agenda. It's one reason so many people vote against their own interests.

To get any hearing from Sen. Max Baucus, who was running the Senate side of the debate, nurses, doctors, and single-payer healthcare activists had to get arrested in a Senate Finance Committee hearing. On the House side, Democrats who proposed single payer amendments endured heavy-handed threats from then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Meanwhile, then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs publicly attacked the "professional left" who will only "be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon."

It should not come as a surprise that negotiating with your supporters before engaging political opposition, and lecturing, hectoring and seeking to silence healthcare activists who have worked for years for real reform, Obama and the Democrats ended up with a weaker bill. That bill lacked the public option HCAN and other liberals had claimed would be their bottom line, while HCAN and other liberals embraced the individual mandate – the brainchild of the right-wing Heritage Foundation – as high principle.

rest at http://www.healthcare-now.org/nurses-union-will-keep-fighting-for-medicare-for-all

@limbaugh Oycontin-Addict Limbaugh Attacks Obama’s Casual Drug Use 30 Years Ago

"There is no clearer sign that the attacks on Mitt Romney's contradictory statements on his tenure at Bain Capital are working — on whether he was in charge when the company off-shored thousands of jobs, as he suggested in sworn testimony in June 2002 or whether he "retroactively resigned" from the company after taking a leave of absence in 1999 — than the fact that GOP's most listened-to propagandist offered Romney this adviceon what to say to the president:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Look, pal, when I was out creating jobs, investing in businesses, and growing this economy, you were at Columbia smoking weed and snorting coke.

This is rich coming from Limbaugh, who, just three years ago, reached a deal with prosecutors related to charges he purchased 2,0000 Oxycontin tablets over a six months period, a practice that may have been going on for years. It's possible that Limbaugh's voracious gobbling of opiates may have cost him his hearing.

Other leading conservatives — Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels, and Sarah Palin– have admitted to casual drug use in their pasts, a fact that Limbaugh conveniently overlooks. And Limbaugh was silent as story after story about George W. Bush's drug use well into adulthood came out over the course of the 2000 campaign and the years of Bush's presidency:

  • Bush's former sister-in-law Sharon claimed in her book that Bush often snorted cocaine at Camp David during his father's presidency. Bush was 50 years old when he is father left office in 1992."

False Claims By GOP Propagandists Michele Bachmann, Lucianne Goldberg And Others in the U.S. Incite Anti-American Violence in Egypt

"It's just politics, a day at the office, for Republican propagandists like Michele Bachmann and Lucianne Goldberg, but the ridiculous lies they are spinning — especially their tale that Pres. Obama is a secret Muslim who directed the U.S. government to rig the election in Egypt — are having serious consequences on the ground:

The efforts of far-right loons to convince people that President Obama is a secret Muslim is finally working. But who would have guessed that secular Egyptians, scared of actual Muslim operatives, would be the easiest to convince?

Over the weekend, activists activists who threw tomatoes at Hillary Clinton's motorcade in Alexandria while taunting "Monica! Monica!" made headlines around the world. But it turns out that the tomato-tossers and 1990s political history enthusiasts have also been following the right-wing attempts to paint President Obama as a "secret Muslim." In the U.S. the conspiracy theory hasn't spread much further than the web, talk radio, and the occasional protest sign, but it has adherents in Egypt who think Obama is spurring on the rise of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, despite his past support of dictator Hosni Mubarak."

@foxnews Cavuto: U.S. should drill more in response to historic heat wave

"Fox Business host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday used the nation's historic heat wave as excuse to call for more drilling for carbon-based fuels like oil and natural gas.

"There's nothing like a heat wave to burn my energy butt," the Fox Business host ranted during his Tuesday show. "This country is roasting. It's screaming for energy, and we're still blocking so much energy. We got no drilling, right? Just spending more green on green that invariably comes up red."

"To be all in on energy, you have to consider all forms of energy, and I'm with the [Obama] administration on that," he continued. "What fries me is I don't think the administration really is in on that. [They're] talking a very good game about expanding fossil fuels but stopping them at every pipeline pass and favoring untested fuels."

Consumer Agency Orders Capital One Credit Card Company To Refund $140 Million To Customers Due To Deceptive Practices

from  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/18/539391/consumer-agency-capital-one-fine/ 

The first public enforcement action handed down by the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will result in $140 million in consumer refunds from credit card company Capital One, the agency announced in a release Tuesday. Capital One will pay $140 million in refunds to two million customers and an additional $25 million fine to the CFPB, the release said. During its investigation, the agency found that Capital One used deceptive marketing tactics, misleading customers about costs and benefits of products and also about eligibility for those products. "We are putting companies on notice that these deceptive practices are against the law and will not be tolerated," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in the release.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

TSA continues to harass passengers with medical conditions

 the TSA, despite its claims in public and on its website, routinely harasses passengers who have medical conditions and/or who are carrying prescription medicines.

In yet another story, a woman was traveling with her husband and children this week and had called ahead to both the airlines and the TSA to double-check the regulations governing travel with liquid medication, syringes, and the cooler in which they must be stored. She was told no problem.

But when she got to the checkpoint, surprise, surprise, there was a problem. As she had been instructed by the TSA over the phone before she left, she told the screeners at the checkpoint what she was carrying and requested that the medication not go through the x-ray machine. They told her to send it through.

rest at http://tsanewsblog.com/3826/news/tsa-continues-to-harass-passengers-with-medical-conditions/

.@RepJoeWalsh Rep. Joe Walsh: All Tammy Duckworth Does Is Talk About Her Service#p2 #tcot

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) backed off his claim that his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee who lost both her legs in Iraq when insurgents hit her helicopter with an RPG, is not a "true hero," in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer yesterday. Walsh continued his attacks on Duckworth, complaining that "all she does is talk about her service." Veterans "don't throw [their service] in your face," said Walsh. Watch the interview:

rest at http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/07/05/511193/rep-joe-walsh-all-tammy-duckworth-does-is-talk-about-her-service/

.@gop House Republicans Reject Food Stamp Compromise In Favor Of Reform They Admit Is ‘Out Of Date’

House Republicans have spent the years since the Great Recession clamoring for "reform" of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, cutting funding from the program in budget after budget. But now that a top House Republican has drafted a deal that would make the program's basic requirements even more stringent than Texas — a state with notoriously strict eligibility standards — conservative Republicans are balking at the deal in favor of a requirement even they admit is "out of date."

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), in an effort to push food stamp reform that would have a fighting chance in the Senate, made sizable changes to SNAP in the House version of the farm bill. Lucas' draft reins in state eligibility requirements by ending what is known as "categorical eligibility" for all non-cash-assistance food programs. The Lucas version of the bill would save billions but kick nearly two million people out of the program, following the footsteps of Republican efforts over the last two years. But that isn't enough for his fellow Republicans, who want to make deeper, "symbolic" cuts that have no chance of passing the Senate, Politico reports:

Yet for all this, according to persons familiar with the negotiations, Lucas ran into a buzz saw at recent member meetings with committee Republicans. His compromise was rejected in favor of the symbolism of ending categorical eligibility outright — without risking any adjustments.

The upshot is that the committee's draft bill will go back to the prior House position of ending cat-el in all cases but cash assistance. This will save $11.5 billion but could drive at least 1.8 million people off the rolls and has twice been rejected by the Senate. [...]

The biggest impact of ending categorical eligibility is the reinstatement of the $2,000 asset test requiring families to spend down their savings before qualifying for help.

rest at 


Romney's "Rich Man" Problem Just Got Worse #p2 #tcot

For the Fourth of July, the Obama campaign released a new Web video, highlighting a recent Vanity Fair look at Mitt Romney's tax shelters and offshore accounts. It's brutal:

The key line: "I've never heard of a president having an overseas bank account." This is a Web video, so it has limited circulation, but these interviews—and others, I'm sure—will certainly make it into swing-state and other general-election advertising. Moreover, they will play well with the Obama campaign's attempt to hinder Mitt Romney by defining him as an out-of-touch plutocrat.

rest at http://prospect.org/article/romneys-rich-man-problem-just-got-worse

Look, up in the Sky! It's a Tax! It's a Penalty! It's a Stupid Argument over Semantics! #p2 #tcot

Since not much campaign news happens over the July Fourth holiday, Mitt Romney took the opportunity tochange his campaign's tune on whether the penalty in the Affordable Care Act for those who can afford health insurance but refuse to get it is a "tax."

To review, the Supreme Court said that the government has the authority under its taxing power to penalize those who refuse to get insurance, leading Republicans to cry, "Tax! Tax! Tax!" with all of their usual policy nuance and rhetorical subtlety. The only problem this poses for Romney is that calling it a tax means that Romney imposed a tax with his health-care plan in Massachusetts, which means admitting that Romney sinned against the tax gods. First his spokesman came out and said that no, it's really just a penalty, but then Romney came out and said, well, if the Supreme Court said it's a tax, then it's a tax, but it wasn't a tax when I did it, because the Supreme Court didn't call it that.

What does all this arguing over semantics tell us? It tells us that the press and public are both complicit in creating the hurricane of stupidity into which all presidential campaigns devolve.

As for the press, they could treat this as the inconsequential semantic quibble it is. The fact is it doesn't matter whether you call it a "tax," a "penalty," a "freedom fee," or a "Lenin levy." It's the same thing. For the record,according to the Urban Institute, only 2 percent of Americans will be subject to the tax/penalty. The whole idea is that most of them will be motivated by the tax/penalty to get health insurance, so the whole idea of the tax/penalty is that almost no one will end up paying it.

But the press has treated the question of what Mitt Romney will call the fee as though it matters. Because of some weird nostalgia, I get the dead-tree editions of both The New York Times and The Washington Post, and when I went outside into the 150-degree heat to get my papers this morning (note to self: get time machine, go back and convince George Washington to put the nation's capital in someplace cold and rainy like Seattle), I found that both front pages had stories about this virtually meaningless issue.

rest at http://prospect.org/article/look-sky-its-tax-its-penalty-its-stupid-argument-over-semantics

.@RepJoeWalsh Today In "Rep. Joe Walsh Says Stupid Things:" Double Amputee Veteran Duckworth Talks Too Much About Her Military Service #p2 #tcot

Illinois Eighth District Rep. Joe Walsh set off another round of verbal fireworks around the Independence Day Holiday when he suggested his Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth campaigns too much on her military service.

Walsh was recorded at yet another town hall meeting getting a good taste of his foot when he comparedDuckworth's mentions of her military service to Arizona Sen. John McCain's during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, "Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!" He didn't want to do it, wouldn't do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That's what's so noble about our heroes. Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about. That's why we're so indebted and in awe of what they've done.

Obama campaign: Tax vs. penalty argument shows Romney can't take a position and stick with it #p2 #tcot

David Axelrod on Twitter yesterday, talking about Mitt Romney's latest flip-flop over whether the individual mandate is a tax or a penalty administered through the tax code:

Mitt: Fed freerider penalty is "tax," identical MA law is not.
If he were in WH, parsley would be official veg: Twister, national pasttime.
— @davidaxelrod via Twitter for iPhone
And Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter to Chuck Todd on MSNBC:
The difference the Obama administration and Mitt Romney is that we've been consistent. This is a penalty administered through the tax code.
In other words, the issue here doesn't really have anything to do with the substantive merits of Obamacare: it's that while President Obama has consistently said one thing, Mitt Romney has been twisting in the wind.

More from Cutter:

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what we're calling this. We've been consistent about what it is. ... Contrast that with Mitt Romney. ... Mitt Romney could call it a tax, he could call it a penalty. We don't particularly care. We just hope he chooses one and sticks to it.
And why is that important?
Look at what's happened over the past five days. His spokesperson calls it a penalty. A couple of days later, the right wing of his party rises up and criticizes him. He's suddenly calling it a tax. So that's what this debate is all about: whether Mitt Romney can take a principled position and stick with it. That's the question.
As David Axelrod put it this morning:
If Tea Party and Cong Rs can pull Mitt's chain, and get him to do a 180 on the mandate he championed, imagine what they'd do with him in WH!
— @davidaxelrod via Twitter for iPhone
So it's clear that the Obama campaign doesn't see this debate as being about health care policy (which is good because the tax vs. penalty debate has nothing to do with the benefits of Obamacare). Instead, they see it as yet another indictment of Mitt Romney's lack of backbone because while they've been consistent about how they view it, Romney has been shifting all over the place. And it's not just that he's been shifting all over the place, it's that Romney's doing it for obviously political reasons, not the least of which is his need to satisfy his party's right-wing base.

GOP Obamacare Lies: The Affordable Care Is Not the ‘Largest Tax Increase in the History of the World’ – Not Hardly #p2 #tcot @gop

The silver lining in the Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act for Republicans was the court's ruling that the fine to be paid by people who can afford it but choose not to buy insurance was a "tax" not a "penalty."

chart-aca-tax-increases-tpmTheir spokesman, Rush Limbaugh, rushed to the airwaves to declare, "What we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world."

And what we have there is a big, fat lie:

But when you compare the projected revenue effect of the individual mandate to the actual revenue effects of other, actually large tax increases, the claim becomes laughable.

We used the Treasury Department's four-year data on the revenue effects of large tax increases signed by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; along with CBO projections of the revenue effect of the mandate adjusted for its GDP projections during the mandate's first four years.

The mandate is tiny by comparison.

And, from Kevin Drum:

This is so stupid it hurts…

rest at 


Over 750,000 Pennsylvanians Could Be Disenfranchised By Voter ID Law

Instances of voter fraud may be rarer than lightning strikes, but in Pennsylvania more than 758,000 voters may be disenfranchised this election season because lawmakers insist on solving the "problem" of voter fraud. Pennslyvania's new voter ID law, which will take effect for the first time this November, may prevent 758,939 otherwise eligible voters, who do not currently have an acceptable ID, from voting.

A comparison, carried out by state officials, of registered voters and PennDOT ID databases show that only 91 percent of Pennsylvania's 8.2 million voters have an acceptable voter ID. In Philadelphia, where voters will be hardest hit by the new law, 18 percent of voters lack proper ID. State officials had previously estimated that 99 percent of voters had acceptable IDs:

"What's truly scary about this report is that it makes my case," Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said. "About 10 percent of otherwise eligible Pennsylvanians are disenfranchised by the Voter ID law. That's not an acceptable number of people to tell that they can't vote." Disenfranchised groups, Wagner said, include older residents, students and the poor.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to overturn the law, and Allegheny County Democrats said in June they would file a Commonwealth Court challenge.

rest at