Jun 14, 2012

Politicians have increasingly discovered that even on a national stage you can lie pretty blatantly and pay no price since the mainstream media, trapped in its culture of objectivity, won’t really call you on it


Last month David Corn noted that Mitt Romney was claiming that “government” would control half the economy once Obamacare was up and running. He’s still saying it, and today Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post gives it a score of four Pinocchios and says Romney should drop it. “No amount of tweaking will get it right,” he says.

That’s true: this particular claim is untweakable. Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom twists himself in knots trying to justify it, but it doesn’t do any good. There’s just no way to pretend there’s any real basis for Romney’s claim.

It also doesn’t matter. Politicians have increasingly discovered over the past couple of decades that even on a national stage you can lie pretty blatantly and pay no price since the mainstream media, trapped in its culture of objectivity, won’t really call you on it, limiting themselves to fact checking pieces like Kessler’s buried on an inside page. And because virtually nobody except political junkies ever sees this stuff, it doesn’t hurt their campaigns at all.

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(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Jun 13, 2012
Here’s a question: if Barack Obama had to go through a brutal process of defending the doctrines, sermons and ideology of a church he merely attended, why is Mitt Romney exempted from explaining the doctrines and statements and ideology of a church he was an actual leading official in?

Andrew Sullivan, at The Dish.


(via thesmithian)

That’s a very good question…

(via abaldwin360)

Because no one actually expects him to win.

(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Jun 13, 2012

States that happily accepted stimulus money to pay for existing employees are laying off those workers in droves


The school district in Reading, Pa. — the nation’s poorest city — laid off 110 teachers last week, along with hundreds of other employees. As elementary students watched in shock, many of their favorite teachers were pulled out of an assembly one by one and given the bad news by district officials, The Reading Eagle reported.

The layoffs will mean larger classes and an end to public prekindergarten in the city. Many special-education students will lose their mentors. A city where only 8 percent of the residents have a bachelor’s degree (compared with the national average of 28 percent) will fall further behind, largely because Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett, chose not to find state money to replace $900 million in federal aid that ran out after the stimulus expired. Instead, he further drained his public coffers by cutting business taxes by $250 million this year.

Across the country, many states like Pennsylvania that happily accepted stimulus money to pay for existing employees are laying off those workers now that Congress has turned off the spigot. Over the last three years, at least 700,000 state and local government employees have lost their jobs, including teachers, sanitation workers and public safety personnel, contributing a full percentage point to the unemployment rate.

That seems to be just fine with Mitt Romney, who, like many Republicans, does not consider a job to be economically significant unless it is in the private sector. Last week, he attacked President Obama for proposing to help states hire more teachers and other workers, saying the president doesn’t understand that Americans don’t want to hire “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.” Only right-wing ideologues make that distinction; most Americans know driving a bus or picking up trash is just as important economically as working in a big-box store.

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Jun 13, 2012

Johnson & Johnson is putting profit before the safety of consumers and their families.


Johnson & Johnson is putting profit before the safety of consumers and their families.

Jun 13, 2012


Louisiana Lawmakers Balk At Funding Islamic School | ThinkProgress

The Louisiana legislature narrowly passed a new education spending bill last week that allows students in low-performing districts to pay for private school tuition using state-funded vouchers.

The new provisions for funding private and parochial schools has quickly devolved into a war of words over religion. Even though millions of dollars are being made available to dozens of schools with overt religious agendas, some Republicans balked at the last minute when it was revealed that a private Islamic school had also applied for 38 vouchers under the new program:

Rep. Kenneth Havard, R-Jackson, objected to including the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans in a list of schools approved by the education department to accept as many as 38 voucher students. Havard said he wouldn’t support any spending plan that “will fund Islamic teaching.”

“I won’t go back home and explain to my people that I supported this,” he said.

The Islamic School of Greater New Orleans has since withdrawn its request for vouchers. But Havard’s concern for religious teaching being funded by taxpayer dollars seems to extend only so far. Reuters reported earlier this month that some of the parochial schools that stand to benefit the most intersperse biblical teachings directly into math, science and reading curricula, often at the expense of an actual education.


Careful what you wish for, huh?

This just drives home the fact that when they talk about “freedom of religion” what they are really talking about if “freedom of religion as long as you are Christian”.

(Source: sarahlee310, via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Jun 13, 2012



This is an older article from October of last year, but it still holds true.

The United States is in a very tough spot, economically and politically.

The 25-year debt-fueled boom of 1982-2007 has ended, and it has left the country with a stagnant economy, massive debts, high unemployment, huge wealth inequality, an enormous budget deficit, and a sense of entitlement engendered by a half-century of prosperity.

After decades of instant gratification, Americans have also come to believe that all problems can be solved instantly, if only the right leaders are put in charge and the right decisions are made. And so our government has devolved into a permanent election campaign, in which incumbents blame each other for the current mess, and challengers promise change.

The trouble is that our current problems cannot be solved with a simple fix. They also cannot be solved quickly. It took 25 years for us to get to this point, and it will likely take us at least a decade or two to work our way out of it, even if we make the right decisions.

So it is time that we began to face reality.

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The long and the short of it is this:


  • The government should construct and pass a long-term budget plan that

  • Minimizes short-term pain, while

  • Getting the long-term deficit under control

  • This budget plan should be designed to benefit all Americans, not just special-interest groups or different classes or industries

  • This budget plan can theoretically include an increase in short-term spending designed to minimize the country’s pain, as long as it also includes a decrease in long-term spending (again, right now, the world is willing to lend us as much money as we want)

  • One form of government spending that unequivocally benefits all Americans is infrastructure spending (when the projects are finished, America has the infrastructure)

  • Infrastructure spending would help America address another reality that has emerged in the past three decades—the reality that the infrastructure of many countries in Europe, Asia, and other regions has vaulted past that in the US and made the US look like a second-world country

  • Infrastructure spending would boost employment in one sector of the economy hammered by the recession—construction

  • Infrastructure spending would involve fewer of the conflicts and misaligned incentives that infuriate many Americans about “entitlement programs,” extended unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, and other government expenditures that seem to encourage sloth and laziness and “socialism”

The 10-year government budget designed to get us out of our current predicament, therefore, should probably include a massive, multi-year infrastructure spending program.

(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Jun 13, 2012

The “job creators”, do not want the economy to get better.


Why would they? They are already making record profits, and labor is abundant.

When labor is abundant, the cost of labor goes down, which makes them even more money. The culture of fear also helps keep costs down and productivity up.

Don’t want to work for $12/hr? Somebody does. Bye. Can’t work 2 Saturdays a month? Somebody is desperate enough. Bye. Labor is so cheap I can hire two people for part time work, saving on healthcare costs. Don’t like it? Bye! Somebody is on the verge of financial ruin and will take whatever I give them.

It’s very easy to exploit the workforce as it is right now. The stock market (The gauge of corporate profitability, not general prosperity), is at record highs. Times are fucking great, why change a thing?

Infrastructure spending would work and bring back our economy.

You pay American workers to construct massive public infrastructure projects such as new roads, highways, and high speed rail, for a start. The money goes into the hands of lower and middle class Americans, desperate for a job. They use that money to pay off their debts and start spending again. 

But it will never happen because our politicians are bought by big business, and our governent is corrupt to the core.

Furthermore, suggestions of such things are met with cries of socialism.

(parts of this were written by reddit users teraken and Motafication - but it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking all along)

(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Jun 12, 2012

Trickle down


Do you want to know how trickle down really works?

Irresponsible rich buggers play games with lending laws and cause an economic collapse, and cause a world-wide economic recession / depression.

Property taxes fall.

City and state governments, relying in large part on property taxes, have vastly less income, and therefore require sharp cutbacks.

People, good people, highly skilled people, get laid off.

Our library posted job openings for two librarians.

We got 81 applications.

It is not possible to interview 81 people, so we filtered down.  Perfectly fine people, but without experience, were eliminated from the list.  People who decided to go into library school back when times were better…back when libraries actually hired.

Dropped from the list…because the best people had experience.  And what kind of experience did they have?

People who’ve been laid off.  People working well below their qualifications, desperately trying to get Librarian I positions because, although it’s still well below their qualifications, it’s at least full time.  It’s at least a professional position.

81 people reduced to 29 without even an interview.  29 interviews…the best of the stack of applications…

Former department heads.  Former professionals.  Former acting directors…some of them supremely excellent…truly excellent.

Every single one of the 28 people are qualified to do the job.  Every single one of them would be great at it.

At least 10 of this bunch are better and smarter than anyone else in our system.  Some could do my job better than I can, and I’m good.

Our first round will reduce 29 to 10 or 15…the next round will reduce it to two.

We only have two jobs…and we had to fight to get these because we need this positions filled but the city is still running in a big deficit….but there’s no more fat to cut from the city budget…we’ve been cutting into muscle and bone for years now.

One of our applicants is working in a prison library.  She’s revolutionized it.  She’s done incredible things for the inmates there.  The guards hate her because she’s being professional and helping the inmates out.  She was far, far too professional to say so, but she hates it.  She is desperate…desperate to get the hell out of there.

But..we can only hire … two.

That is trickle down  People needing full time work for health insurance.  People foregoing regular checkups, hoping that they can get away with it…

Some will get cancer…some of this cancer won’t get detected in time because checkups have been foregone.

Some of these people will die.

This is “trickle down”  Trickle down from greed and irresponsibility…  Trickle down from a government bale out so they can live the lives to which they’ve been accustomed.  Standing on Wall Street balconies…drinking champagne, laughing at the people below them who dare to say that reform is necessary.  They own the politicians…silly little protesters.  Nothing will reform…they will pay to ensure that.

Drink champagne and laugh…

Two jobs…like starving children fighting for two scraps of bread.  We don’t have bread to save them all.

If you pay the executives more, there is no trickle down.  The money is horded, or used to make more money in financial numbers games.  Greed worked once…more greed will work better.

If the executives screw up, then there is trickle down…the disaster affects people at all levels…including the highly skilled and educated.  Well, it affects all levels but the top…drinking champagne and laughing.  All levels except for the level where the mistakes were made.  Everyone suffers but the ones who made the mess.

This is trickle down economics.  Why don’t they tell us how it really works?

~ Steve

(Source: skepticalavenger)

Jun 3, 2012

Religious Ragings: IRS Warns Churches About Political Activities, Tax-Exempt Status


IRS regional manager Peter Lorenzetti told pastors attending the Faith Leaders Summit meeting in Washington that activities that could result in loss of tax-exempt status include endorsing or opposing candidates, campaigning for them or making contributions to their…

(via skepticalavenger)

May 30, 2012

A little step has a huge positive impact.


A little step has a huge positive impact.

(Source: questionall, via stfuconservatives)

May 16, 2012

Wells Fargo Has Blood on Its Hands: Desperate Man Commits Suicide After Shocking Foreclosure Mistreatment - This is the story of what happens when an average couple is up against a giant, wealthy, powerful bank.


Norman and Oriane Rousseau were one more couple pushed by a huge, greedy bank to the brink of homelessness. On Sunday, desperate and with nowhere to go, Norman Rousseau shot himself. 

This is the story of what happens when an average couple is up against a giant, wealthy, powerful bank. Unfortunately the result is what the result always is when people are on their own against the wealthy and powerful: the bank ends up with all of their money, takes their house to sell and throws them out onto the street. In this case the bank is Wells Fargo.

The quick version of this terrible story is that Norman and Oriane Rousseau of Newbury Park, California were scammed into a predatory mortgage. But they made their payments anyway, always paying with a cashier’s check in person at the same branch. Then one day the bank misapplied their payment and said they still owed the money. This started a long, nasty process that led to the bank evicting the Rousseaus from their home. 

Here’s the shocker: right at the start the Rousseaus came up with proof that the bank had received the payment and had cashed the check. But the bank continued to claim it had missed the payment, gave the Rousseaus the runaround, started applying fees, and used it as an excuse to foreclose on the house anyway. 

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(via skepticalavenger)

May 11, 2012

(Source: yesimanatheist)

May 10, 2012

Rand Paul endorses campaign depicting gun pointed at Obama’s head



Well, that’s nice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you civilization. (Does anybody even remember Gabrielle Giffords? All of this gun imagery dosen’t happen in a vacuum.)

(Source: thehackerformerlyknownas4chan)

May 2, 2012

Apr 29, 2012
"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be go
ne, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

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