Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Psycho 'Flake'

Randall Enos - Cagle Cartoons - Michele Bachmann Color - English - Michele Bachmann,republican candidates,presidential race,tea party

The 'f'' word was used by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in his interview the other day with Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) He asked her if she was a 'flake.' Of course his question was alluding to the numerous examples of Bachmann's misquotes, misstatements, outright lies and as some would say, "psycho talk." Let's look at the underlying circumstances of this issue in Michelle Bachmann Said What!?

Now in just her third term in Congress, Bachmann, the leader of the House tea party caucus, has earned a reputation as one of the lower chamber's leading bomb-throwers, lobbing overheated rhetoric at Democrats and needling establishment Republicans. Her Minnesota colleague, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison once accused her of "psycho talk"; in an interview with Politico, a Pawlenty aide was just as blunt: "She's a real pain in the ass." Former state senator Dean Johnson, who was the Republican minority leader during Bachmann's stint in St. Paul, has said, "I don't think I ever served with anybody who I mistrusted more, from either side of the aisle."

Ouch. Bachmann also has a tendency to stretch the truth, or simply sidestep it altogether. Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact, recently told Minnesota Public Radio that he has never researched a Bachmann quote and found it to be true (the only major politician for which that's the case).

Below is a guide to the Minnesota firebrand's most outrageous, outlandish, and out-there remarks.

2001: In a letter she co-wrote for the Minnesota-based Maple River Education Coalition, Bachmann warns that President Bush's education policies are leading the nation down the path to communism: "Government is implementing policies that will lead to poverty, not prosperity, by adopting the failed ideas of a state-planned and managed economy similar to that of the former Soviet Union."

2003: Bachmann, then a state senator, explains why she doesn't agree with the theory of evolution: "Where do we say that a cell became a blade of grass, which became a starfish, which became a cat, which became a donkey, which became a human being? There’s a real lack of evidence from change from actual species to a different type of species. That's where it's difficult to prove." Don't even get her started on how a bill becomes a law.

2003: Bachmann sends out a Christmas Card advertising the availability of her youngest son, Lucas: "Chick magnate [sic] needs wife to put him through med school, clean house, pay bills and run his life. Must be willing to gamble against onslaught of socialized medicine diminishing return on investment."

2004: With the country locked in a heated debate over gay marriage, Bachmann finds parallels in the Old Testament: "We're in a state of crisis where our nation is literally ripping apart at the seams right now, and lawlessness is occurring from one ocean to the other. And we're seeing the fulfillment of the Book of Judges here in our own time, where every man doing that which is right in his own eyes—in other words, anarchy."

2004: Songwriter Melissa Etheridge has breast cancer. That's bad news. But there's good news too, Bachmann tells the conservative education group EdWatch: maybe the cancer will give her time to reflect on her sinful lifestyle: "Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers. This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian." In the same speech, she alleges that "almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or by a female."

2005: Bachmann explains her opposition to the state's minimum wage as a form of job creation: "Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."

2006: Campaigning for a seat in the House, Bachmann delivers a five-minute prayer for You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, an anti-gay heavy metal ministry that promotes the gospel to public school students: "I thank you for how you are going to advance them from 260 schools a year, Lord, to 2,600 schools a year. Lord, we ask by faith that you would expand this ministry beyond anything the originators of this ministry could begin to think or imagine."

2007: In an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Bachmann drops a bombshell: Iran is planning on turning all of Northwest Iraq into a secret terrorist training camp: "Iran is the troublemaker trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And you know why? It's because they've already decided, that they're going to territory, they're- they're going to partition Iraq and half of Iraq, the western northern portion of Iraq is going to be called, the United, uh, the, the uh, -oh, I'm sorry, I can't remember the actual name of it now, but it's going to be called, um, uh, the, the, uh, uh the Iraq State of Islam, something like that."

2008: Just two weeks before election day, Bachmann calls for an investigation into the anti-American ambitions of Barack Obama and congressional Democrats: "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America."

2008: Redundant Redundancies, vol. I: "The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax."

2009: Explaining her opposition to a bill that expands the scope of AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps' domestic equivalent, Bachmann warned Minnesota's KTLK that it could be the gateway to a mandatory brainwashing program: "I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."

2009: Picking up on Sarah Palin's debunked warning abut "death panels" in the Affordable Care Act, Bachmann declares: "If you are a grandmother with Parkinson's or a child with cerebral palsy, watch out."

2009: Bachmann goes on Glenn Beck's Fox program to discuss the specter of "One World currency" and delivers what historians may later dub her "I am not a kook!" speech. "Glenn, I have experienced that throughout my political career being labeled a kook. It just happened again in a big story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But all we have to do is point to the treasury secretary on tape, on camera. This is not Michele Bachmann being a kook. This is our treasury secretary on tape and on camera." A visibly confused Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had told Bachmann he was not aware of any plan to replace the dollar.

2009: As the nation (aided, perhaps, by Vice President Joe Biden) freaks out over Swine Flu, Bachmann implies—while stressing that she isn't—that this whole thing might have been Obama's doing: "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

2009: Bachmann warns the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. health care reform) would include a loophole permitting grade-schoolers to go on abortion field trips: "Does that mean that someone's 13-year old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back, and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser. They don't know any different."

2009: Bachmann frets that Democrats' cap-and-trade legislation, which proposed using the powers of the free market to create carbon exchanges, posed an existential threat to all Americans: "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us 'having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States."

2009: With health care reform coming ever closer to becoming a reality, Bachmann sounds the Horn of Gondor: "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass."

2009: In an interview on Fox News, Bachmann warns that the Obama administration could potentially use Census data to round up Americans and put them in camps: "Between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into internment camps. I'm not saying that that's what the administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against them to round them up in violation of their constitutional rights."

2009: Bachmann argues that abnormally large emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide can't be regulated because if we did, birds would lose their natural habitat—air: "Life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that—that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth."

2010: After former President Bill Clinton tells reporters Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" remarks could send the wrong message to fringe groups, Bachmann accuses Clinton of celebrating the Oklahoma City Bombings—by speaking at an event honoring those who died in the attack. "He gave a speech, and he called me out in his speech, and he was talking about the anniversary—now, only Democrats would do this. The anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing by Tim McVeigh. I mean, we don’t celebrate these things. This is not what we celebrate."

2010: Bachmann warns that critics of the Affordable Care Act will be denied coverage, based on their political beliefs. As evidence, she cites a conversation with a Japanese man who told her that in Japan, health care reform opponents are afraid to speak up: "'Well why is that,' I asked. [He said], 'Because they know that would get on a list and they wouldn’t get health care. They wouldn't get in. They wouldn't get seen. And so people are afraid. They're afraid to speak back to government. They're afraid to say anything.' Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point!"

2010: After House Democrats propose using a relatively standard parliamentary procedures to pass the Affordable Care Act, Bachmann calls for an investigation: "Well, yeah, and the other thing is treason media. Where is the mainstream media in all of this not telling this story? This is a compelling story. That the Speaker of the House would even consider having us pass a bill that no one votes on. That should laugh her out of the House and there should be people that are calling for impeachment off of something like this."

2010: Ever vigilant of bureaucratic waste, Bachmann alleges that President Obama's trip to India will be more expensive than the entire war in Afghanistan: "The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day. He's taking 2,000 people with him. He will be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending." An exasperated White House spokesman later said the charges, which stemmed from an anonymous official in the west Indian state of Maharashtra, had "no basis in reality."

2010: Remember that whole bit about Obama being "anti-American" back in 2008? Yeah, forget that. Bachmann tells Bill O'Reilly: "Candidate Obama was a very reasonable fellow."

2010: Redundant Redundancies, vol. II: "That's what the Bill of Rights is all about—to secure our individual liberties from an overweening huge bureaucratic large big government."

2011: In a speech to New Hampshire tea partiers, Bachmann crafts an alternative history of the American Revolution: "What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord."

2011: As the House GOP prepares to vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government, Bachmann urges her colleagues to hold the line: "This is our mice or men moment. We need to show whether we are mice or men." The bill passes; we're mice, apparently.

2011: Bachmann suggests an unlikely fix to the nation's long-term deficit: "I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this."

2011: On Twitter, Bachmann says the President's proposal to make government-subsidized lunches more nutritional violates the will of the Founders: "Where in the #Constitution does it say the fed. government should regulate potatoes in school lunches? It doesn't." Which is true. Technically.

2011: In an address to the group Iowans for Tax Relief, Bachmann praises the Founding Fathers for their commitment to…diversity: "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status, it didn't matter whether they descended from known royalty or whether they were of a higher class or a lower class, it made no difference. Once you got here [to the United States] you were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?"

In the same interview, she praises the Founders for working so hard to abolish slavery: "We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

2011: Seizing on an administration directive to promote energy-efficient light bulbs, Bachmann accuses the administration of banning light bulbs altogether: "I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the light bulb and I think darn well you New Hampshirites, if you want to want to buy Thomas Edison's wonderful invention you should be able to!"

2011: Michele Obama promotes breast-feeding as a means of reducing child obesity. Bachmann senses more sinister motives: "This is very consistent with where the hard left is coming from. For them, government is the answer to every problem. I've given birth to five babies and I breast fed every single one of these babies. To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition."

There's more. Just the other day Bachmann claimed that the actor John Wayne was from her hometown, Waterloo, IA. She told Fox News that she has "the spirit" of John Wayne. Of course, truth be told, John Wayne the actor is not from her hometown. She was confused once again. It was John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer, who has roots in Waterloo.

Michelle Bachmann has not changed her message of lies and misrepresentations over the years. In a 2006 Republican debate, she embraced her theory that, "not all cultures are equal" by espousing lies regarding the youth revolt over employment in France. The truth of the youth protests in France in 2006, involved a controversial bill that would have encouraged the hiring of people under 26 by allowing employers to dismiss them without cause within two years.

In evaluating Michelle Bachmann, should we be aware of her view of government and life?
Should she be asked tough questions and be held to a higher standard now that she is running for the highest office, the President of the United States? Should Michelle Bachmann be held accountable for what she says and thinks? Should we know if she is a kook, a flake, a psycho?

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Common Sense Budget: The People's Budget

Reps. Maxine Waters, Mazie Hirono (podium) and Raul Grijalva introducing The People's Budget at the Capitol

Politicians like to support their theory's with poll results. If you look at the polls, the public's message is clear: protect Medicare and Social Security, spend less on the military, and raise taxes on the wealthy. And while we're at it, let's tax the Wall Street speculators who wrecked our economy.
If you listen to the pundits and TV commentators, the federal budget problem has a simple solution: cuts, cuts, and more cuts. They cheer politicians for making "tough choices," which usually entails taking money away from schools, stiffing public workers, and telling the poor and the elderly they need to make do with even less. Tough choices, indeed — but for whom?
Main Stream Media does not reflect Main Street.
But if you look at the newspapers or your TV screen, those ideas are rarely, if ever, part of the budget debate. Is there no one in Washington who is sticking up for what the majority of the public wants?
But wait.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, which includes 74 House Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, released an alternative budget blueprint back in April. This "People's Budget" would achieve a better balance by taxing the wealthy, reining in runaway military spending, and protecting the New Deal social safety net — just what people tell pollsters that they want
So why is it that the People's Budget isn't being discussed?

There's a good chance you've never heard about this part of the budget debate, though there's been a mountain of media coverage of the budget mess — thousands of articles and television programs. If you've paid attention to any of it, you're probably well acquainted with Rep. Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin Republican has "jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him," according to one magazine profile. The New York Times told readers about his "piercing blue eyes." It's not just his looks that impress the media. His budget plan, which pairs yet more big tax breaks for the rich with spending cuts for everyone else, is constantly touted as being "bold" and "serious."

And the People's Budget? Well, it's not even mentioned. There were no hard news stories about in the big papers. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote about the press conference unveiling the People's Budget only to mock it— right down to poking fun at one lawmaker's tie.

Here's a general overview of the People's Budget:

  • Reduces unemployment—and thus the deficit—through extensive investment in infrastructure, clean energy, transportation and education;
  • Ends almost all the Bush tax cuts, creates new tax brackets for millionaires and new fees on Wall Street;
  • Full American military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other reductions in military spending;
  • Ends subsidies for non-renewable energy;
  • Lowers health care costs through a public option and negotiating Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies;
  • Raises the taxable maximum on Social Security.
That is a very quick summary, and full details can be read here. The Economic Policy Institute has a full analysis here. At the press conference introducing the budget, economist Jeffrey Sachs praised it as the "only budget that makes sense" and "a lot more serious than everything else on the table." He's also previously written about The People's Budget on the Huffington Post.
Partisan Politics
The budget debate is locked up in a partisan stalemate. That makes it as good a time as any to tell the people about the People's Budget. Most newspapers and TV networks aren't doing that. And when you look at who stands to gain — and who stands to lose — it's no mystery why corporate-owned media are keeping us in the dark.
The budget mess is covered daily by the media. It is time to let the public know about the People's Budget.

For a discussion and analysis of the People's Budget, WATCH:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The "Not My Fault" Excuse

Once again, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, a close Republican ally of Gov. Scott Walker (R) is claiming that his actions are not his fault. Justice Prosser who has been on the court since 1998, ran as the incumbent candidate in the the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in April, 2011. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg ran against Prosser in the election. Prosser has a history of inappropriate behavior. In March, 2011, Prosser declared that he was goaded into insulting the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.
As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a "bitch" and threatening to "destroy" her. ... "In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a 'bitch,' threatening her with '...I will destroy you'; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her 'and it won't be a ground war,'" [Justice Ann Walsh] Bradley wrote in a Feb. 18, 2010, e-mail to Prosser and others.

Prosser acknowledged his outburst, but said he was justified—and then proceeded to blame it on the woman he had verbally assaulted:
"I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted.... They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing."

After the April election, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg had initially declared victory by a an unofficial 204-vote lead over Justice David Prosser, as reported by the Associated Press. However, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, subsequently found more than 14,000 votes that had not been reported from her predominantly GOP county which gave conservative Justice David Prosser a 7,500-vote lead.

Controversy has followed Prosser since the election.
Democrats in Wisconsin were crying foul Friday after a significant vote-count change in the hotly contested Supreme Court election gave the conservative incumbent the lead in a race that could decide the fate of the state's new divisive collective bargaining law.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said it was "human error" that resulted in more than 14,000 votes from her predominantly GOP county not being reported on Tuesday. The corrected totals gave conservative Justice David Prosser a 7,500-vote lead, according to unofficial tallies, and undid the earlier likelihood of a recount.

Rep. Peter Barca, Democratic Assembly minority leader, said Nickolaus' revelation "raises disturbing questions, particularly in light of her partisan history."

"The new Supreme Court race vote totals she 'discovered' during canvassing not only swung the election but also put the race just barely past the amount needed to trigger a state-financed recount," he said in a statement.
Recently, Prosser is being accused of chocking the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley came forth with a statement late Saturday saying that fellow Justice David Prosser choked her and refuting claims that she attacked him first.

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a choke-hold," she said. "Those are the facts and you can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that's only spin.

"Matters of abusive behavior in the workplace aren't resolved by competing press releases," she said.
"I'm confident the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident involving abusive behavior in the workplace."
Prosser's behavior against several female Chief Justices include both verbal and physical aggression. An unnamed source who is on Prosser's side of the argument has now accused Bradley of initiating the violence.
"She charged him with fists raised," the source told the paper, saying that Prosser "put his hands in a defensive posture" to block her, and made contact with her neck. Bradley is then said to have immediately complained of being choked, while another, unnamed Justice responded, "You were not choked."
Prosser has denied the allegations against him.
For his part, Prosser -- who had initially declined to publicly comment -- released a statement containing a denial, and that would make no further public comments: "Once there's a proper review of the matter and the facts surrounding it are made clear, the anonymous claim made to the media will be proven false. Until then I will refrain from further public comment."
There are now calls for Prosser to step down or be removed. Think Progress has Four Ways Justice David Prosser Can Be Removed from Office.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has exploded. He has cursed. He has threatened. He has choked. He has acknowledged. He has denied. He is a bully who excuses his behavior by blaming his victim.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Koch Brothers Echo Chamber

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - Alarming Republicans COLOR - English - Republicans, GOP, Social Security, medicare, Work, Foreclosure, Housing, Unemployed, Deficit 
Brave New Foundation with Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT] and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign want to expose the Koch Echo Chamber.
The Koch brothers want to destroy Social Security because it is a Federal government program which has been enormously successful.  The Koch brothers are funding think tanks and other organizations which are spreading an enormous amount of disinformation about Social Security. The Koch Brothers fund organizations and you have  economist and political scientist working there. They are very good getting on TV and people not know they represent an organization that is heavily funded by corporate interest.  They are very effective of getting their message out into the media.  At the same time the Koch brothers are putting huge amounts of money into campaign contributions so you have an echo chamber that starts repeating a lot of misinformation.
#1: Need to Raise the Age of Retirement
#2: Social Security is going bankrupt
#3: Privatize Social Security
#1:  Raising the retirement age is a terrible idea and a large benefit cut.
#2:  Social Security will never go bankrupt.
#3:  Privatizing Social Security would be a disaster.
The Koch Goal is to Dismember Government
The Koch brothers want to privatize Social Security to invest your retirement funds on Wall St. and you may lose all of your retirement savings when you get old. The Koch brothers' job is to do everything they can to dismember government in general and if you can destroy Social Security you have gone a long way in that effort.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Bachmann's Words

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - Bachmann Red Meat - English - Bachmann, Michele, Red Meat, Muslims, Gays, Guns, Taxes, Abortion, God, Climate Change, Hoax, Presidential, Candidate, 2012 
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has recently announced that she plans to run for President.  She is a Tea Party politican and the Founder of the House Tea Party Caucus and her ideology is considered radical.

ThinkProgress has assembled 10 of the nuttiest things Bachmann has ever said:
(1) BACHMANN WARNED ‘THE LION KING’ WAS GAY PROPAGANDA: At the November 2004 EdWatch National Education Conference, Bachmann said the “normalization” of homosexuality would lead to “desensitization”: “Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of ‘The Lion King’ for instance, and a teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?’ The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.”
(2) BACHMANN CLAIMED ABOLISHING THE MINIMUM WAGE WOULD CREATE JOBS: While testifying in front of the Minnesota Senate in 2005, Bachmann said, “Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” This isn’t remotely true. Even simply reducing the minimum wage would, as Paul Krugman noted, “at best do nothing for employment; more likely it would actually be contractionary.”
(3) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT SCIENTISTS ARE SUPPORTERS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: During a 2006 debate, Bachmann said, “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” This was, and is, not true.
(4) BACHMANN CLAIMED TERRI SCHIAVO WAS ‘HEALTHY’: Not long after Terri Schiavo died, Bachmann said she would have voted for the Palm Sunday Compromise because Schiavo “was healthy. She had brain damage — there was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill.” An autopsy found that Schiavo had suffered irreversible brain damage and her brain, said the medical examiner, was “profoundly atrophied.”
(5) BACHMANN LIKENED VISITING IRAQ TO VISITING MALL OF AMERICA: In 2007, Bachmann returned from a junket to Iraq and told her colleagues, “[T]here’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere.” As ThinkProgress documented at the time, the comparison was preposterous.
(6) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT CARBON DIOXIDE IS ‘HARMLESS’: In 2008, a Stanford scientist revealed “direct links” between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and “increases in human mortality” — globally, he found that as many as “20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.” The next year, Bachmann, who is not a scientist, said that “carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
(7) BACHMANN CALLED FOR A CONGRESSIONAL WITCH HUNT: Pivoting off the news of Barack Obama’s alleged relationship to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bachmann accused the candidate of having “anti-American views.” She then suggested that Congressional liberals — including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — ought to be subject to “an exposé” by the media because of their views. “I think people would love to see like that,” she told a stunned Chris Matthews.
(8) BACHMANN SUGGESTED GAY SINGER SHOULD REPENT AFTER GETTING CANCER: Bachmann saw Melissa Etheridge’s cancer as a teachable moment: “Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers,” she said in November 2004. “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”
(9) BACHMANN BOASTED ABOUT BREAKING THE LAW: In advance of the 2010 national Census, Bachmann told The Washington Times that she would break the law by not completing the forms. “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
(10) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT GLENN BECK COULD SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS: During a February trip to South Carolina, Bachmann told a South Carolina audience, “I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this [the national debt].”

Monday, June 6, 2011

Secret Money Scandal

Tim Eagan - Deep Cover - Im a corporation - English - corporations, supreme court, citizens united, elections, persons

Michael Winship at Salon War Room has an interesting article, Secret Cash, The worst political scandal of all.

Sometimes I feel like Gus, the father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" -- you know, the guy who thinks you can cure all maladies with a spritz of Windex and declares, "Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek."

Only in my case, it’s give me a scandal, any scandal, and I’ll show you how the corrosive influence of money on politics is at its root and makes what’s bad even worse (okay, maybe not in the case of Anthony Weiner -- yet). It’s not an especially effective party trick, I know, unless you’re at a really dreary policy wonk picnic, but you work with what you’ve got.

John Edwards’ illegitimate child? The legal case being built against the freshly indicted former presidential candidate isn’t about paternity or custody or any of that kind of stuff, but revolves around felony campaign finance charges; whether or not two wealthy backers -- his now deceased fundraising chair Frederick Baron and 100-year-old heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon -- provided hundreds of thousands in contributions that in reality paid for the hiding of Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, and their baby.

Gingrich and Tiffany

Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista’s big fat, revolving, no interest credit account at Tiffany's? It might be tin-eared and wrong for someone who purports to be a fiscal conservative and a man of the people to throw around big bucks for expensive bling, but that ain’t necessarily the scandal. Look a little deeper. On May 24, Jeff Stein of The Washington Post blog "Spy Talk" reported:

"At the same time Tiffany & Co. was extending Callista (Bisek) Gingrich a virtual interest-free loan of tens of thousands of dollars, the diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee -- where she worked -- had jurisdiction, official records show."

Until 2006, Ms. Gingrich was chief clerk at the committee. During the years between 2005 and 2009, Tiffany's annual lobbying costs shot up from around $100,000 to $360,000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The jewelry giant strongly denies any connection: "We had no reason to lobby the Agriculture Committee and we did not… Our focus has been on the Natural Resources Committee." The company also said it had never spoken with Newt or Callista Gingrich about federal mining policy.

But hang on, there’s more.

Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner reports:

"Christy Evans, formerly a top staffer to then-whip Newt Gingrich, is a registered lobbyist for Tiffany’s, the high-end jeweler where Gingrich and his wife enjoy an extraordinary line of credit. Evans, former floor assistant to Gingrich and now a lobbyist at the legendary K Street firm Cassidy & Associates, has represented Tiffany's on mining issues since 2000, according to lobbying filings."

The revolving door between government and corporate interests, revolving credit… the saga of Newt "Holly Golightly" Gingrich spins on. The whole affair is reminiscent of the preferential loan treatment now-collapsed subprime mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corporation reportedly gave a few years ago to Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson (he resigned as a result), North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad (chair of the Senate Budget Committee), former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd (who served as chair of the Senate Banking Committee), and former cabinet secretaries Alphonso Jackson and Donna Shalala.

The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United

Yet all this greed and venality pales against the dark heart of the worst political scandal of all, the continuing nightmare caused by Citizens United and other court decisions that have unleashed a monster of unlimited and frequently anonymous private and corporate campaign cash against a nearly defenseless citizenry.

The recent disclosure that the conservative, "grass roots" advocacy organization American Action Network received first year revenues of $2.75 million from fewer than a dozen unnamed, wealthy donors (and 82% of the money from only three of them) led Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethic in Washington, to cite AAN as just one example of how "very few people are having a disproportionate impact on our country’s elections." (The group, affiliated with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads political action committee, raised another $24 million in the four months before the 2010 midterms, funding attack ads against Democratic Senate candidates in Wisconsin, Florida, Washington State and Florida described by progressive watchdog Media Matters as "bogus," "deceptive" and "stripped of the facts.")

Secret Donors and Corporate Money

This revelation follows superb investigative reporting by a Bloomberg News team last month headlined "Secret Donors Multiply in U.S. Election Spending." They found that outside, or non-party organizations, including "trade groups, unions and non-profits started by political operatives that raise and spend money for advertising" spent $305 million on the 2010 elections, four times more than similar groups spent four years ago. They plan to raise even more money for the 2012 campaign. Contrary to law, five of those groups have failed to report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) more than $4 million spent on attack ads in last year’s races.

"The organizations face little scrutiny from the FEC, where split votes between Republican and Democratic commissioners have stymied enforcement in case after case for almost three years," Bloomberg reported. "As a result, voters may find themselves choosing the next U.S. president knowing less about those trying to shape their views of the candidates than they have since secret money helped finance the Watergate burglary and re-elect President Richard Nixon in 1972."

The journalists quoted Donald Simon, a director of pro-disclosure organization Democracy 21: "The amounts of corporate money involved in Watergate will look quaint by the standards of secret corporate funding that will take place in 2012."

Republicans and many Democrats oppose all new attempts at campaign finance reform, including a proposed White House executive order requiring corporations seeking government contracts to reveal their political contributions. On May 26, a federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that a long-standing ban on corporate contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional. Unless the composition of the Supreme Court shifts in a new direction, a constitutional amendment that reverses Citizens United and other federal rulings may be our only prayer, the solitary hope we have to prevent the total usurpation of representative government by big businesses with bottomless pockets.

Economic dominance, it’s the biggest scandal of all

The Greeks had a word for it -- "oligarchy" -- political clout based on economic dominance. It is, in the words of economist Simon Johnson, "an antithesis to democracy… a small group with a lot of wealth and a lot of power. They pull the strings. They have the influence. They call the shots."

No accountability, no scruples, no shame. It’s the biggest scandal of all; a republic struck down by a possibly fatal malady that even Gus the Greek’s magic bottle of Windex can't cure.

It is always the wealthy who are continually complaining that the poor are getting things they haven't worked for and therefore don't deserve. But it is only the rich who work hard to buy the votes they want because they truly don't trust our system of democracy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's The Facts. Stupid!

Taylor Jones - Politicalcartoons.com - Sarah Palin - Spite makes right - COLOR - English - palin,sarah palin,barack obama,osama bin laden,bin laden dead,navy seals,special ops,conservatives,right-wing,conspiracy theories,republicans,2012 presidential campaign

Via rsn:

In the video, which was taken at Boston's Old North Church, Palin gives a bizarre version of Revere's 1775 ride. Addressing an unknown person, Palin remarks:

He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.

A couple of things are wrong with that interpretation, but one central main point seemed to be lost on Palin: Revere wasn't warning the British about anything. Indeed, he was warning the Americans about an impending British attack - as his celebrated historical catchphrase "The British are coming!" made abundantly clear.

Of course, Palin isn't the only politician who has had the facts wrong and has muddled history.

Last month, Michele Bachmann - Palin's likeliest rival for the tea party vote should they both elect to run for president in 2012 - told a crowd in New Hampshire that they came from the state where the first "shot heard round" helped set off the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord. Lexington and Concord, of course, are in the neighboring state of Massachusetts.


The media has had a hay day from her blunders. Bill Maher thinks that Palin "shouldn't be on vacation, she should be in summer school! WATCH:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lipstick and Jewelry

Jim Day - Las Vegas Review-Journal - Sarah Palin stepping into Reagans boots - English - Sarah Palin, Ronald Reagan, Tea Party, 2012 election

Is it a show of solidarity or a photo

You couldn't miss it, the big Star of David hanging around Sarah Palin's neck as she toured the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Wednesday.

NBC New York asked Palin about the significance just as she boarded her bus outside Fox Newschannel to head off to Boston.

"Today is the 44th anniversary of Jerusalem being reunited," she said. "We want to call attention to that."

The pendant is in every photo she took with fans and supporters and can be seen in every sound-bite captured by television crews.

This is not the first time that Palin, a non-Jew, has donned a large Star of David. Of course wearing a Star of David on a chain generally marks the wearer as Jewish. But with Palin, there are other reasons.

So what was the most decidedly not-Jewish Palin doing wearing one in Israel? Not appealing to American Jews -- that's for sure. Most American Jews, being Democrats, can't stand her. And one visit to Israel, a nation many American Jews have mixed feelings toward, anyway, isn't going to change that.

Rather, by wearing the Star of David, Palin was reaching out to American evangelical Christians -- and also being one herself. [emphasis added]

According to David Brog, the (Jewish) executive director of Christians United for Israel, "it is increasingly common" for evangelical Christian supporters of Israel -- who follow a fairly common Israel-centric strain of American biblical interpretation -- to wear Stars of David as symbols of solidarity with the Jewish state

Of course, the last few times Palin wore her large Jewish Star was when the TV cameras were rolling.

View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.