Posts Tagged Politics
The Joke of the Day – 1/13/2013
A man wrote a letter to the IRS: “I have been unable to sleep knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. I understated my taxable income and have enclosed a check for $200.00. If I still can’t sleep, I will send the rest.”
CAMPAIGN STOPS November 1, 2012
In Defense of the Undecided
By LYNN VAVRECK
The caricatures flourish. People who can’t agree on anything political find common ground on one point: undecided voters are vapid, disengaged and a little bit frightening.
And yet there they are, still part of the electorate. Over the past few weeks, I have been using data from the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project to explore the thoughts and feelings of voters who were undecided last December. The takeaway has been that they are typically less interested in politics; they pay less attention to news in general; and they are more likely to have moderate ideas on contemporary political questions (but 30 percent report that they have no political ideas at all). So far, the caricature pretty much holds.
They are also more likely to be women (63 percent), more likely to have less than a high school education; less likely to hold a graduate degree; and more likely to have family incomes of less than $30,000 a year.
The data, however, also reveal that almost half of the undecided consider themselves Democrats or Republicans. But even this cue is not as strong for them – only 65 percent eventually choose their party’s candidate (as opposed to 95 percent of early-deciding partisans).
It is possible that political signals like party mean less to late-deciders because politics is like a foreign country to them. But another possibility is that some of their ideas conflict with the positions their putative party takes.
Here’s an example. On the question of whether to raise taxes on families earning more than $200,000 a year, most Democrats say yes – roughly 80 percent of early-deciding and undecided voters favor this policy. But among Republicans, 60 percent of early deciders oppose this policy while only a quarter of undecided voters oppose it. Even at the highest levels of income (more than $100,000 a year), the difference among Republican early and late deciders on this issue is more than 30 points.
Similar differences can be found on whether undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States should have a legal path to citizenship. Compared to early-deciding Democrats, undecided Democrats are more than 30 points less likely to favor the pathway; undecided Republicans are 20 points less likely to oppose it compared to their co-partisans.
But these out-of-step late-deciding semi-partisans do not always abandon their party at the ballot box. Conflicted, undecided Democrats are more likely (75 percent to 25) to break for Romney over Obama if they oppose raising taxes on the rich, but no more likely to break for Romney if they oppose the pathway to citizenship. The reverse is true for conflicted, undecided Republicans – more likely to choose Obama if they disagree with Republicans on immigration, but no more likely to choose Obama if they disagree with Romney on taxing the rich.
Looked at in this light, the undecided actually exemplify a type of political flexibility we often claim to admire, but often denigrate in practice. A healthy portion of undecided voters seem to understand when they are out of step with their party and this sometimes drives them to the opposing candidate. They may not be as interested in news or politics as you are, but they consider their preferences relative to party positions when making up their minds. Adjust those caricatures.
Let’s briefly move away from party to another canonical driver of voter choice in American elections: attitudes about race. Despite the subject’s prevalence in 2008, when the economic collapse portended a strong Democratic victory, the discussion of race has been conspicuously absent in 2012 or at least much less of a focus. The problem with this is that the 2012 election is going to be much closer. Attitudes about race could be pivotal in a way they almost surely could not have been in 2008, when we couldn’t stop talking about it.
I’ve modeled votes for Obama or Romney separately for early deciders and initially undecided voters using only party identification, ideology, retrospective evaluations of the nation’s economy, and a measure called racial resentment.
Racial resentment is one of a set of regularly used political science measures of attitudes about race. It is born from the concept of symbolic racism, which has its share of critics. Essentially, it is a scale of four survey questions asking people to agree or disagree with questions about whether “generations of slavery” have made it hard for blacks to work their way up the economic ladder – or whether blacks would be as well off as whites if they only “tried harder.”
Racial resentment is related to voter choice for every presidential election in modern history. Interestingly, even within the 2008 Democratic primary, these attitudes robustly predicted a voter’s choice between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Evidence from 2008 also suggests that racial resentment plays a larger role when Obama is running relative to others who have run for president before.
Here is what the relationship looks like in 2012 plotting across deciles of resentment in the overall sample. After controlling for party, ideology and economic judgments, increasing levels of racial resentment (moving from left to right on the horizontal axis) decrease the likelihood of voting for Obama – not a shock. But here’s where it gets interesting. For voters who were able to make up their minds early, moving from the lowest levels of resentment to the highest drops the chance of their voting for Obama by more than 70 points. The comparable drop among initially undecided voters is only slightly more than 10 points.
As we saw with party, attitudes about race among the undecided are related to their choices, but the relationship is weaker than it is for those who decide early. In other words, the racial attitudes of undecided voters do not affect their vote for or against Obama as dramatically as those same attitudes affect otherwise-similar early deciders.
On the one hand, this could be interpreted as more good news — another blow at the caricature. Perhaps undecided voters are truly post-racial. If race mattered to them as much as it does early deciders, they’d have already made up their minds, as the more partisan do. Maybe these voters are the ones who have moved “beyond” race, at least in terms of their candidate selection.
On the other hand, I’m already catching sight of Seth Meyers over at “Saturday Night Live “ working on the next skit about undecided voters with the too-good-to-pass-up punch line: “Wait, what do you mean the president’s black?”
- Entire Nation Now Undecided After 4 Debates | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- In Defense of the Undecided (campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com)
- How I Think About Undecided Voters (washingtonmonthly.com)
- The Undecided Voter Revealed (slate.com)
- Poll: Fox 48%, Bucy 42% in AG race (billingsgazette.com)
- Kane leading AG race, Trib poll finds (triblive.com)
- Ask the Heevahava (dickdestiny.com)
- Governor’s Race Going Down To The Wire (seattle.cbslocal.com)
- Yes, Undecided Voters Are Partisans and Have Opinions (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Change (eschatonblog.com)
Not So Fast: You Can’t Count Romney Out Yet
Updated: September 21, 2012 | 2:55 p.m.
September 21, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
Mitt Romney, gestures to the audience while campaigning Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in High Point, N.C.
After ’s latest stumble, and polls showing leads in key states for President Obama, the tone in the political universe has become decidedly bullish on the president’s chances, with some people acting as if he has locked it up. But the voters don’t seem ready to declare the campaign over, and it is way too early to be writing Romney’s political obituary. In a Twitter world, six weeks — with four debates — is an eternity.
Undeniably shell-shocked by two weeks that seemed to bring bad news on each day, Republicans are trying to regain their footing and start challenging what they fear is a growing consensus that Romney is blowing his challenge to a decidedly vulnerable president. Their message: not so fast. Not so fast with talk of Romney gaffes; not so fast with talk of falling behind in the polls; and not so fast with plans for Obama’s second inaugural.
Exhibiting a trace of urgency to try to prevent that consensus from taking hold, their argument echoes the president’s defense of his tax plan: It’s not politics; it’s math. They contend the math of the latest polls shows Romney behind, but not so far behind that it justifies some of the claims heard this week on cable television.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who backs Romney, irritated many of his fellow Republicans when he decried what he called “one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember” and predicted certain defeat “if he doesn’t dramatically change his strategy.” But even the most ardent Romney supporter cannot deny that there wasn’t much good news for the nominee in a 19-day stretch from Aug. 30, when Clint Eastwood debated his empty chair, when Democrats held a successful convention, when Romney jumped the gun and made ill-advised foreign policy remarks on Sept. 11, and when, this week, Romney’s admittedly “inelegant” remarks to fundraisers were disclosed.
In the middle of that stretch, the GOP frustration bubbled over when GOP insiders groused to about the direction of the campaign.
It was not a great stretch, acknowledged Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “But that doesn’t justify a premature rush to judgment,” he insisted. “Pull yourself away from the piling-on of the Romney campaign and look at the data.” The numbers, he said, provide perspective. “To somehow assume that the race is over because you have an awkward challenger at a time when six out of 10 voters think we’re going in the wrong direction, two-thirds think we’re still in a recession, a majority thinks the president’s economic plan is not working, his job approval is below 50, and his ballot is below 50 — that strikes me as just crazy.”
Ayres said Obama’s average lead in the public polls was 2.3 percent in June, 2.5 percent in July, 2.4 percent in August, and has been 2.6 percent in September. “It is a flat line…. That doesn’t strike me as a done deal, a race that is over.”
But those numbers do show Romney consistently losing, with not even his own campaign arguing that he leads the race. “Romney is behind, and his skills as a candidate are not exactly world-class,” acknowledged Ayres. “But he is in a position where he could win this thing. There are a bunch of people who are not yet sold on him but they sure are open to him and what he has to say.” He added that Romney can get those votes “if he can come up with a compelling vision of why their economic future is going to be brighter if they pick him instead of Obama.”
It is the single biggest failure of Romney’s campaign that after two years of effort he has yet to project that vision. But there are voters willing to hear him out, according to veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted a focus group with undecided voters in Virginia on Monday. Hart found voters in this battleground state have not yet bought Romney’s wares. But they are still willing to let him make his case.
Hart spent an evening in suburban Fairfax with a dozen voters. As reported by Carl Leubsdorf in , many of the voters said they were disillusioned with Obama but not sold on Romney. Pamela Zacha, 64, of Reston, said Obama was “overconfident and unrealistic.” But she complained Romney has not offered a specific economic plan and said “there’s still a part of me that wants to give [Obama] more of a chance.” Others in the group had the same complaint — that Romney has not been specific enough about what he would do to revive the economy.
Tom Rath, the longtime Republican figure in New Hampshire, said he is encouraged by the willingness of voters to still consider Romney despite all the recent bad publicity — some of which he blamed on a “Greek chorus of unemployed consultants” taking shots at the campaign’s decision-makers in Boston. He said Republicans need to get beyond such “distractions,” and he insisted: “We can still win. It’s doable. But we’ll have to thread the needle a little bit.” To do that, he argued, analysts will have to stop “overreacting to some of these swing-state polls.”
And he urged patience, even setting a date when Republicans can legitimately worry if they still trail Obama. “The week of October 1st is probably an inflection point,” Rath said. “You’ll have a debate on Wednesday the 3rd, then job reports on the 5th. I think where we are polling on Columbus Day, October 8th, will tell us where this race really is. If we’re still close then, it will be like baseball. The Democrats will regret that they didn’t put us away early. The longer people say they are undecided, the less likely they are to go with the incumbent.”
- Romney’s Campaign Undercuts His Competence Pitch – NationalJournal.com (mbcalyn.com)
- 8 Very Bad Things That Happened to Mitt Romney…Just This Morning (alternet.org)
- A new, silly shiny object (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- The right’s many attacks on Mitt Romney (politico.com)
- Obama Shores up Wisconsin While Romney Seeks Money (abcnews.go.com)
- Study: “47 percent” isn’t hurting Mitt where it counts (salon.com)
- Obama aims for Wisconsin, Romney seeks Calif. cash (sacbee.com)
- Is Sleep Deprivation the Reason the Romney Campaign Is Blowing It? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Josh Romney says in Erie his father will win (goerie.com)
- Two Romney staffers bumped from NM (KOB.com)
10 Rankest Hypocrisies of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party
The hyper-hypocrisy of today’s GOP has spread through the party’s bloodstream.
September 7, 2012
White House hopeful Mitt Romney, pictured on September 1, joined the latest chorus of criticism launched by fellow Republicans at President Barack Obama on Wednesday, attempting to take the shine off the Democratic convention.
Modern Republicans give us an opportunity to peer into the soul of a party that has embraced an open aversion to the truth. Meanwhile, their hypocrisy has reached historic proportions. It’s as if they have lost the ability to recognize the obvious contradictions they put forth. Or, more likely, they just don’t care, since lies and hypocrisy are an efficient way to score political points and smear opponents. The hyper-hypocrisy of today’s GOP has spread through the party’s bloodstream. Below is a sampling of the most recent examples of rank right-wing hypocrisy.
1. Romney has promised that his first action on day one of a Romney administration would be to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Of course, he wouldn’t have any authority to do that and attempting to pass legislation in congress would get stopped short in the Democratic-controlled senate. However, he may want to have a discussion with his running mate. It was recently disclosed that Paul Ryan quietly applied for funding for a Wisconsin healthcare clinic in his district. The funds would come entirely from the Affordable Care Act that Ryan and Romney now propose to repeal.
2. In an interview on the Bill Bennett radio show, Mitt Romney lashed out at what he considered to be false ads by a pro-Obama super PAC. In the course of his tirade he lamented that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” Romney said this even as he refused to pull his own ads that had been rated “Pants-on-Fire” lies by PolitiFact. Subsequently, the Romney campaign decided to abandon any pretense to honesty and declare that fact-checkers had “jumped the shark,” and that they would no longer “let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” In other words, we will lie if we feel like it.
3. At the GOP convention in Tampa, Ann Romney gave a keynote speech in which she told women, “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you.” It was a naked attempt to appeal to women voters the GOP is having trouble connecting with. However, beyond her flattery she never uttered a word of support for issues of importance to women. There was no mention of equal pay, gender discrimination in the workplace, parental leave, or child welfare services like healthcare or nutritional programs. The only references she made to education were how fortunate her husband and children were to have the benefit of attending first-rate institutions that most Americans will never see. And the GOP platform strikes a markedly different tone by banning access to family planning services and effectively asserting that women, “the hope of America,” are not competent to make decisions about their own bodies.
4. The comments of GOP senate candidate Todd Akin regarding “legitimate rape” caused a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Many on the right insisted that Akin withdraw from the Missouri senate race. However, most of the criticism was directed at the harm Akin caused to the GOP’s prospects of winning the seat, rather than to the offensive views he articulated. There was abundant gnashing of teeth over Akin’s stupidity for putting the election at risk. But when it comes to women, the right’s policies are actually a logical conclusion of Akin’s dumb outburst. In fact, Paul Ryan and Akin cosponsored a bill in the House that sought to redefine the term “rape.” Their bill would make federal funds unavailable for victims unless the crime was deemed “forcible,” which would have excluded many assaults that were statutory, incest or under duress.
5. Fox News and Romney have both recently made an issue of legislation in Ohio that would remove early voting availability for all voters except those in the military. The Obama Justice Department challenged the law arguing that every voter should have early access to the polls. Romney and Fox responded by accusing the president of wanting to make it more difficult for soldiers to vote, even though the administration’s position is to make voting easier for everyone. What Romney and Fox did not mention was that their position would have denied early voting to over 900,000 Ohio veterans (in addition to millions of other Ohio residents) who were not included in the GOP’s bill. [Note: An Ohio court just ruled in favor of the administration's position, but the Ohio Secretary of State insisted he would defy the court order to open the polls.]
6. Mitt Romney’s problems with his financial records are well known. He continues to refuse to release more than two years of his tax returns even as more evidence comes out that he has engaged in shenanigans involving off-shore banks and other tax avoidance schemes. Nevertheless, Romney had the audacity to address a group of donors and complain about big businesses that “save money by putting various things in the places where there are low-tax havens around the world.” Apparently that’s only acceptable for wealthy presidential candidates.
7. Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Mitt Romney says yes. The key issue of the Romney campaign from its inception has been his contention that the economy is in dismal shape and that it’s the president’s fault. Romney has said on numerous occasions that Obama may have inherited a troubled economy, but he made it worse. However, when asked by radio host Laura Ingraham about improving economic indicators, he said, “Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession.” Ingraham was stunned and gave Romney a second shot noting that he wasn’t helping his argument. Romney held firm saying, “Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.” Soon after, Romney went back to falsely accusing Obama of making things worse.
8. While running for the GOP nomination for president in 2007, Romney was asked by reporters if he agreed with comments by then-candidate Obama that if Osama bin Laden were discovered in Pakistan he would take action if the Pakistanis did not. Romney responded, “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” Earlier this year, on the anniversary of the death of bin Laden (who was killed by American Special Forces in Pakistan), Romney diminished President Obama’s role by claiming, “Anybody would have made that call.” Well…not just anybody.
9. Romney was a vocal opponent of the auto industry bailout orchestrated by the Obama administration. He famously wrote an op-ed for the New York Times with the title “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Fast-forward a couple of years to a newly profitable and growing automobile industry and we find that Romney has shifted his position. Today he not only claims he supported the bailout, but he considers himself responsible for its success. He told ABC News that “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” That’s a little like Pontius Pilate taking credit for Jesus coming back.
10. When Romney ran for the senate in Massachusetts in 1994, he claimed to support abortion rights and punctuated his commitment to that position with a story about a close relative who died as the result of an illegal abortion. In a debate with his opponent, Ted Kennedy, Romney referenced his family’s loss and said “It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.” So Romney once made an unwavering commitment never to force his beliefs on others, but now he’s pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Is he through with grieving now? Is he comfortable with the grief that other families will suffer if his promise to repeal Roe v. Wade is fulfilled?
Hypocrisy and the Republican Party have never been separated by much The GOP was the originator of the healthcare insurance mandate, but flipped to opposing it after it was proposed by a Democratic president. The GOP supported the DREAM Act until Obama put it on the legislative agenda. Cap and trade was a GOP innovation. And the war hawks of the Republican right – Bush, Cheney, Rove, Boehner, Bolton, Limbaugh, Hannity, Kristol, Beck, et al. – never saw a day of combat. Mitt Romney, after protesting in favor of the draft to send other kids to Vietnam, avoided service via his Mormon missionary work in Paris, and received multiple academic deferments.
The lies that have been so freely disseminated by the right are a serious impediment to democracy. But the GOP’s hypocrisy is just as thickly applied and just as deceitful. It is emblematic of the character (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party.
- 10 Rankest Hypocrisies of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party (alternet.org)
- Mitt Ain’t Their Guy (mbcalyn.com)
- The Problem With Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney (mbcalyn.com)
- I Have Figured Mitt Romney And The Republican Party Out Why They Say They Can Do Better (curmilus.wordpress.com)
- The Romneys Just Keep Talking, Proving How Unlikeable They Are | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- 7 Worst Media Brown-Nosers Who Enable Paul Ryan’s Lies | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Paul Ryan And A Republican Paradox (addictinginfo.org)
- 7 Reasons Why Romney-Ryan’s Desperate Attempts to Spin Medicare Won’t Work | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Huckabee exposes hypocrisy of GOP leaders on abortion | Jay Bookman (mbcalyn.com)
- Reid calls out hypocrisy of Romney’s Louisiana tour (dailykos.com)
Free Wood Post – Scientist finds gene that prevents Republicans from saying ‘Democratic’ when talking about Democrats
Scientist finds gene that prevents Republicans from saying ‘Democratic’ when talking about Democrats
September 1, 2012
By Jeff Musall
Observers have been previously unable to understand the phenomenon keeping Republicans from being able to say the word “Democratic” when describing the opposition party.
Their insistence on saying things like “the Democrat Party” and “Democrat Senator” were initially thought to be snide little barbs meant to demean the Democratic Party in some sort of not-really-funny way.
Alas, science has come to the defense of grammar-challenged conservatives everywhere. Dr. Rodney P. Malprick of the National Institutes of Health has reportedly identified the gene responsible for the ability to master the entire word “Democratic” and use it in a sentence.
“At first, we thought the inability of some people to say the complete word was a result of the amphibian brain not being able to successfully put four syllables together,” Dr. Malprick said.
“Now that we realize it comes from a genetic deficiency, we understand that these people deserve our sympathy. Through no fault of their own, many conservatives make themselves sound like petty and petulant third graders. We must conduct research that can help them overcome this painful condition,” he added.
It’s hoped that further research can indeed lead to a future wherein Republicans happily call the opposition by the proper name and Democratic Senators are identified as such. Dr. Malprick is planning to develop a powder that can be dissolved in warm milk that will reverse the imbalance and restore phonetic correctness.
- Tim Kaine and the Decline in Democrat Party Affiliation (virginiavirtucon.wordpress.com)
- Unveiled: Democrats’ Racist Past (rogueoperator.wordpress.com)
- 37.6% call themselves Republicans now, and only 33.3% say they are Democrats. (althouse.blogspot.com)
- Chair of the California Democrat Party Compares GOP & Paul Ryan to Nazi Joseph Goebbels (thegatewaypundit.com)
- The Dem-Obama-crat Party of One (thewesternexperience.com)
- Calif. Democratic Party chair: Paul Ryan is like Nazi Joseph Goebbels (rawstory.com)
- Huntsville Democrats eager to hear Obama’s message at convention (al.com)
- Big buzz over N.J. governor’s race at Democratic National Convention 2012 (nj.com)
- Wave: GOP Voters At ALL-TIME HIGH (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Ouch!… Newt Blasts NBC’s Lib Panel – Outs Democrat’s Indefensible and Radical Partial Birth Abortion Platform (Video) (thegatewaypundit.com)
Huckabee exposes hypocrisy of GOP leaders on abortion
Mike Huckabee, perhaps the most prominent leader of the GOP’s evangelical wing, has come out strongly in defense of U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri. Here’s a portion of the email that Huckabee sent out to his followers:
The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left (Akin) behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. Not for a moral failure or corruption or a criminal act, but for a misstatement which he contritely and utterly repudiated.
I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview. This was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin’s own Republican Party. Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are “conveniently pro-life” for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred?
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful.
From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled?
Without in any way minimizing Akin’s rhetoric, there’s a lot of truth in Huckabee’s screed. The congressman’s position on rape and abortion is not by any means out of line with that of the Republican Party mainstream. The 2012 party platform calls for a ban on abortion, with no provision for exceptions in cases of rape and incest. It also calls for recognition in law that human life begins at the moment of conception, a position that precludes the right to choose for rape and incest victims.
As Huckabee understands, Akin is being ostracized by his party not for what he believes, but for stating what he believes too bluntly, and for calling attention to things that party elders want to keep hidden. It is telling, for instance, that Mitt Romney’s campaign is refusing to allow reporters to interview him unless they agree beforehand not to ask questions about abortion.
The GOP establishment wants the loyalty of the pro-life movement without the political baggage that comes with it among the general public. And it is bitterly angry with Akin because he has made it difficult to achieve those contradictory goals.
- Huckabee exposes hypocrisy of GOP leaders on abortion (blogs.ajc.com)
- Huckabee Says He and a ‘Quiet Army’ Back Akin (theatlanticwire.com)
- Huckabee rallies Missouri pastors to Akin’s side, attacks GOP establishment (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Is Ryan going rogue? (salon.com)
- Huckabee: Republicans who denounced Todd Akin ‘are not rational’ (rawstory.com)
- Huckabee Blasts Romney and GOP Establishment Attempt to Force Akin Out (themoderatevoice.com)
- “The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left [Rep. Todd Akin] behind on the…” (shortformblog.com)
- GOP Civil War! Huckabee Goes To Bat For Akin (newshounds.us)
- Mike Huckabee’s gift to Dems (salon.com)
- Todd Akin Declares He’s Staying Put (rollcall.com)
If you’ve never seen the Sarah Palin brain candle, you might enjoy at least looking at one, and imagining how funny it would look after burning the top 1/3 of the candle. It is described as:
“Sarah Palin has transformed herself from a polarizing politician to a polarizing pop culture icon. To represent this phenomenon, two artists from Brooklyn have hand sculpted her image in an historic pose and reproduced it in a temporary medium. Whether you want to show the world your love of Sarah Palin or simply want to melt her brain, this candle is for you.
Our Sarah Palin bust stands 10 inches tall and is made of a mixture of paraffin and soy wax to give it a wonderful creamy marble finish. Give the Republican in your family a piece of art to proudly display on the bookshelf in their corner office at the fortune 500 company, or give the Democrat in your family a hilarious gag to be used as an icebreaker at the next anti-fracking-vegan-book-club meeting.”
The candle is $55.00, so you may simply enjoy the thought of it!
- The Obama Campaign Declares Sarah Palin Mentally Incompetent (mbcalyn.com)
- Paul Ryan is no Sarah Palin – PostPartisan – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Is Sarah Palin Overpaying Her Makeup Artist? (bellasugar.com)
- The Internet Gives Paul Ryan the Sarah Palin Treatment – Politics – The Atlantic Wire (mbcalyn.com)
- Try Sarah Palin’s Hair! (Or Michelle’s, Or Cindy’s, Or Hillary’s) (bellasugar.com)
- Sarah Palin’s Hair Salon Is Getting Its Own Reality TV Show (bellasugar.com)
- Sarah Palin endorses Ted Yoho (jacksonville.com)
- The White House Silences McCain’s Dump Biden Babble With Two Words: Sarah Palin (mbcalyn.com)
- Sarah Palin Urges Rep. Akin To Step Aside: ‘Take One For The Team’ (mediaite.com)
- Sarah Palin Is Right (Really!) (sporkinthedrawer.typepad.com)
Under Citizens United, Public Employees Are Compelled to Pay for Corporate Political Speech – NYTimes.com
How Pensions Violate Free Speech
By BENJAMIN I. SACHS
Published: July 12, 2012
A CENTRAL principle of American political life is that everyone gets to choose which candidates to support. The idea that the government could force us to support those we oppose is anathema. But this unacceptable state of affairs is one of the unintended consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case.
That’s because the vast majority of people who work in the public sector — state, local and federal employees — are required to make contributions to a pension plan. Nearly all states make participation in a pension plan mandatory and a “condition of employment” for public employees. To get and keep your job with the government, you have to give some of your paycheck to the pension plan.
Public pensions, moreover, are so-called defined benefit plans, which means that employees don’t have a say in how their mandatory contributions are invested. The employees cannot request, for example, that their money be used only to buy government bonds or that it be invested only in certain mutual funds or only in select corporations.
Instead, the employees’ money is invested according to whatever decisions the pension plan’s trustee makes. And, not surprisingly, pension plans invest heavily in corporate securities: in 2008, public pensions held about $1.15 trillion in corporate stock.
Here’s the problem. In its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court held that companies have a First Amendment right to make electoral expenditures with general corporate treasuries. And they’ve done so, with relish, pouring millions into the political system.
What Citizens United failed to account for, however, is that a significant portion of the money that corporations are spending on politics is financed by equity capital provided by public pension funds — capital contributions that the government requires public employees to finance with their paychecks.
This consequence of Citizens United is perverse: requiring public employees to finance corporate electoral spending amounts to compelled political speech and association, something the First Amendment flatly forbids.
Contrast this situation with how the court treats political spending by unions. In many states, public employees are required to pay dues to a labor union. If the public employees union were to spend any of the money raised through dues on politics, the court has ruled, the dues requirement would amount to forced political speech and association. To prevent this First Amendment violation, the court has held that no union may use an employee’s dues for political purposes if the employee objects.
The same should be true for pension funds and corporate politics. In a world where corporations can use their general treasuries for political spending, no government should be allowed to require employees to finance the purchase of corporate securities through a pension plan, unless the government provides those employees with a meaningful way to object to financing corporate politics.
The good news is that the rules governing union dues and political spending provide a road map for restructuring public pensions in order to bring them back into conformity with the First Amendment.
Here’s one way it could work: Pension plans would determine the number of employees that object to financing corporate political spending. They would then negotiate “opt out” rights with the corporations in which they invest. These corporations would calculate the percentage of their annual expenditures that go to politics and promise to return to the pension plan an amount equal to the objecting employee’s pro rata share of the corporation’s political budget.
Whatever the route to reform, however, public pension plans need to ensure that employees are not compelled to finance corporate political speech. Until they do, these pension funds will be vulnerable to the challenge that they are violating the First Amendment.
- Op-Ed Contributor: Under Citizens United, Public Employees Are Compelled to Pay for Corporate Political Speech (nytimes.com)
- The Court – Citizens United – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Montana attempts to buck the Supreme Court on Citizens United – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- US Supreme Court: Citizens United (goodolewoody.wordpress.com)
- Our View: Pension plans using rose-colored crystal ball? (appeal-democrat.com)
- California the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC (blogforarizona.com)
- Democracy in the hands of idiots. Part II (english.pravda.ru)
- Former justice predicts cracks in Citizens United decision (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Supreme Court Declines to Revisit Citizens United (nytimes.com)
- Initiative declaring corporations aren’t humans certified for Montana ballot (missoulian.com)
I Don’t Want Health Care If Just Anyone Can Have It
As a concerned citizen, I must voice my adamant disapproval of the “universal health care” proposals we’ve been hearing so much about. I don’t have any gripes with expanding and improving health coverage, per se. It’s the “universal” part that irks me. Providing health care for all would completely undermine the whole idea of health care. If every last one of the 40 million uninsured bozos in this country is going to get access to the vast, virtually unnavigable system of medical care we chosen few now enjoy, then I no longer even want it.
When hospital administrators see me flash my Blue Cross card, it means something. It tells the world, “Hey, look at me: I pay increasingly high monthly premiums, submit to annual exams, and claim any health-related expenditures over seven percent of my yearly income on my taxes, and you can’t.” But when this bill passes, they’ll be handing out insurance cards willy-nilly, and nobody will be able to tell the difference between someone who’s had health coverage for 20 years and someone whose boss was compelled by law to provide it to all full-time employees.
Then again, maybe they’ll offer some sort of special Platinum Plus medical card. But I can’t count on that.
Health care is all about exclusivity, pure and simple. It’s for a group of like-minded people bonded by the dream of only having to contribute a portion of their weekly wages to ensure unfettered access to a number of licensed health care professionals. If we change all that, health care will be about as elite as a public restroom, open to any yokel who waltzes into an emergency room and can legally establish California residency.
Mark my words, this will completely destroy the allure of filling out all the necessary-but-time-consuming paperwork, choosing one primary care physician attached to one specific plan, and becoming eligible for prescription medications at a reduced rate.
The only reason this is even being considered is because a majority of voters want it. Well, of course they do—they don’t have it! But you don’t see 33rd Degree Freemasons letting any old average citizen into their inner sanctum just because he’s curious. And you won’t catch me sharing my God-given right to affordable lifesaving medical procedures with every bum who’s got a jones for another hepatitis vaccination. It’s undignified.
After all, how do I know I’ve made it in this world if I’m not able to enjoy something others can’t?
Lack of access to health care is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, and that says something. It doesn’t get much more elite than being part of a club other people are literally dying to get into. So what incentive would there be if everyone were guaranteed equal health care, regardless of income, age, or employment status? Who would be left to proudly tell their grandchildren about the glory days of PPOs? That is a future I’d rather not imagine, thank you very much.
So why the constant desire to guarantee basic yearly screenings and vital operations for all, thus creating some kind of ridiculous, unrealistic safety net? How will people fully appreciate the excellence of the American health care system without the constant threat of it being yanked away at any moment?
If middle-class children are given government-subsidized medical coverage from the beginning, they won’t have anything to look forward to when they get older. Though my offspring will never have to worry about desperately trying to scrape together the money for a hospital visit, it doesn’t mean we should do away with the millions of other uninsured Americans who show them how privileged they are to have it in the first place.
That’s just a simple matter of respect.
I urge all citizens of good sense to reject any universal health care plan that gets put forward. It’s time to stand up for what’s right, and protect our most respectable institutions. If we don’t do it now, what will they tell us next—that everyone deserves a free public education and “the right” to a fair trial?
- Tyler Cowen on Health Care Egalitarianism (notunlikeresearch.typepad.com)
- Poll: Americans don’t like health care reform, but don’t like current health care either (americablog.com)
- Supreme Court Holds The Fate Of Millions Of Americans In Its Hands (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dave Helling | A very certain forecast for health care (kansascity.com)
- Fox News poll: Nation divided on health care law ahead of Supreme Court ruling – Fox News (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- Ron Paul on Health Care Ruling: No Matter What Happens Tomorrow, the Patient Is Still Going to Suffer (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Predictions on the Health Care Cases (volokh.com)
- Club Med: The Surge in Medical Tourism (kvsmith.com)
- Health-Care Reform and the Next Recession (fool.com)
- Former federal health official, Dr. Donald Berwick, says health care should be a human right (charlotteobserver.com)