Sunday, June 17, 2012

Headlines - Sunday June 17

Note that the crime here is not worshipping the wrong invisible sky wizard; it's denying the existence of any sky wizard. This man is going to prison for expressing facts and rational thinking. And it's happening in a pluralistic, modern nation that prides itself on "religious freedom."
Financial Protection Bureau launched an inquiry into financial fraud and abuse against senior citizens Thursday, as studies showing that scams against the elderly are becoming more prevalent. Senior citizens lost $2.9 billion to financial abuse in 2010, a 12 percent increase from 2009, according to research from MetLife. 58 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Investors Protection Trust said they encounter financial exploitation or fraud targeted at seniors "quite often" or "somewhat often," and 96 percent consider it a "serious problem." The CFPB is now seeking public comments about whether seniors are getting adequate financial education, and for examples of how they are being exploited.
Values Voters
A new Public Policy Polling poll finds that brothels enjoy popular support across all political parties in Nevada, including 66 percent of both Democrats and Republicans. A March poll found that only 20 percent of Nevada Republicans support same-sex marriage, a juxtaposition that PPP described as "an interesting take on family values." Nevada's brothels have no legal restrictions on sexual orientation, so according to the state's Republicans, it's okay if gays and lesbians pay for sex, just so long as they don't settle down and start families.
Hero Michigan Rep. Frank Foster Identifies Appropriate Words For Lady Parts

anger management

Members of the Michigan legislature are expected to behave in a manner that is becoming, not only of the dignity and responsibility of their high office, but of the people they represent.

That's why the Honorable Frank Foster, member of the Michigan House of Representatives, did the only gentlemanly thing possible when Michigan Nurses Association staffer Julia Smith-Heck wouldn't stop mowing her lawn while Foster was a guest in Smith-Heck's neighborhood last month: he called her a cunt. As a matter of fact, Foster shouted "you're a cunt" from across the street.

Like a gentleman!

It just so happens that Foster and Smith-Heck have divergent viewpoints on collective bargaining. But that's just a coincidence and probably has nothing to do with Foster's shouty, vulgar outburst. It really was about someone intolerably mowing their own lawn.

And that's a lesson for those temper-tantrum throwing, unstable, probably mensey, lady Representatives Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown.

If you dames can't refer to your lady parts by appropriate euphemisms (i.e. cunt) instead of the highly-offensive anatomically correct terms like vaginas, then you should just shut your traps. [Electablog]


In addition to the $10 million Sheldon Adelson already gave to Mitt Romney's Restore Our Future PAC and the $100 million he says he will contribute to it, he's also doling out another $35 million to Karl Rove and Eric Cantor.

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson has pledged to give $35 million more two three GOP nonprofits in addition to the $36 million he has already spent this election cycle, reports the Huffington Post. The three nonprofits getting this latest round of donations are the Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads GPS, an unspecified one with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers and a third linked to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The donations will bring his total spending for the cycle to $71 million.

And according to John McCain, Adelson may be funneling foreign money into the election. Casinos in Macau, an administrative region of China, are where Adelson makes his fortune.


NYT: With Justices Set to Rule on Health Law, 2 Parties Strategize

If they strike this down, I don't think we should be forced to buy car insurance either. Stolen from my friend Pete:

A good way to cut out the insurance company profiteers in motor vehicle insurance would be a pay at the gas pump tax. The amount someone pays would be linked directly to the amount of gas they consume. The more you drive, the more you pay.... The bigger the gas guzzler (and thus a threat to cause greater monetary damage in the event of a collision), the more you pay. Incentives are properly aligned.

Hmmm, maybe health insurance should be financed by taxes on food with a progressive tax based on the amount of processing involved .... no tax on produce or staples purchased in bulk like rice, beans, .... heavy taxes on sodas, bottled water, ETC. 


And they call the unions thuggish. Get a load of this:
Facing economic uncertainty, defense contractors are plotting to spur Congress to nix the automatic budget cuts set to begin next year.

The plan? Threaten to send out layoff notices - hundreds of thousands of them, right before Election Day.

Congress, industry leaders contend, has left them few options. Federal law, they say, requires employers to give notice of 60 days to workers facing layoffs.


"I've been told by some of our major employers that layoff notices are going to come before the election," said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal critic of the automatic cuts. "It's dangerous and irresponsible for Congress to play with this."

"Negotiations in Congress can't wait for the lame-duck session because there's going to be a devastating impact to our defense industrial base before then," she told POLITICO.

Right. It's dangerous and irresponsible for the congress to play with this. But playing chicken with the debt ceiling, domestic programs and massive tax cuts every few months is necessary for budgetary discipline.

And, by the way, when did it become ok for the head of OMB to weigh in with political advice?

"We have made it clear that we believe that the sequester is, by design, bad policy," OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer told POLITICO in a statement. "Congress should do its job and pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction as it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act."
Guess what? It was "charged" to do that by ... itself. It can "charge" itself not to do it just as easily. Contrary to popular myth, "deficit reduction" is not an edict from God Almighty. They don't have to do it right now. They shouldn't do it right now. It will be a bad deal for Americans and the American economy in the long run and will do nothing to help in the short run.

The defense contractors aren't going to cut off their noses to spite their faces. Best case scenario for the moment:

"Not a day goes by when I don't spend some time on sequestration," [ Jim Dyer, a lobbyist with Podesta Group who represents some of the top defense firms] said. "Everybody's asking about it."

Still, he hasn't seen any indication on Capitol Hill that there will be a resolution soon.

"Kicking the can has become such an acceptable policy that it wouldn't surprise anybody," he said.

Every day that goes by without a Grand Bargain struck by foolish politicians and their billionaire owners is a good day for America. It would be a better day for America if we could get some relief for homeowners and a real fiscal stimulus but I'm trying to stay in the real world here. The best we can hope for is that the partisan desire of the GOP to destroy their enemies will allow us to live to fight another day. It ain't much.

Digby follows up:

I wrote earlier about how the MIC is threatening to destroy the country if the congress follows through on its earlier deal to cut defense. The Senators are all in a dither because the economy will be destroyed if the MIC has to lay off all those workers.(And here I thought the government couldn't create jobs ...)

Guess what? Aside from the issue of all the useless killing machines they produce, defense contracts are the costliest way to create jobs. The PERI institue of UMass issued a report showing that for every $1 billion spent by the Pentagon, roughly 11k jobs are created while that same money on domestic priorities (or even tax cuts) would create far more jobs:

Also too, they are making record profits at the moment and Lockheed's CEO took home $25.4 million (twice what Goldman's CEO made) in 2011. Maybe they could hold off on the panic for just a little while.



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