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Saturday, June 6, 2015

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Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason

Fighting Back Against the Wingnuts 
This is not an epistle of despair, but more of a secular gospel of hope, and a plan for positive change …
david-nioseIn his new book, Fight Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, David Niose draws a sharp distinction between backward and forward thinking.
These are not concepts that will seem strange, or appear to need much explanation for readers here. At the same time, this book is about assumptions, and Niose challenges many of them here. He will challenge some of yours just as he challenged some of mine.
That is why this is such an important book.
While we have seen evidence of the country’s shift to the left in recent polling figures, Niose points out that many on the liberal/progressive side are still stuck in the twentieth century.
He is talking not simply about views of atheists, but of assumptions many of us carry with us: “the role of government, education, the environment, and foreign policy,” he says, “are also rooted in paradigms that should have faded long ago.”
The result, he tells us, is that conservative assumptions rule the day. Rather than a “rational, human-centered public policy” we have the promotion of “antireason” which comes at us from “in a variety of forms” – and as we have here, he points to the corporate agenda as well as “certain governmental and religious interests.”
These are collectively “the Right,” that is, the conservative end of the political spectrum. The defining characteristics of the right, as he explains them, are:
  • Antigovernment
  • Militaristic
  • Moralistic
  • Pro-corporate
  • Sympathetic to Entanglement of Religion in Government
Niose does not make the distinction between liberal and progressive of Timothy Ferris in The Science of Liberty (2010). Niose is not looking at classical liberalism, but lumps progressives and liberals together. He is not looking at Ferris’ distinctions (those who stress liberty vs those who stress equality) but rather what ties modern liberals and progressives together: a devotion to reason and human-centered policy (Interestingly, you will find neither “liberal” nor “progressive” in the index of Niose’s book).
The defining characteristics of the left are:
  • Human centered
  • Promote Reason
  • Sensible egalitarianism
  • Pragmatism
  • Individual autonomy
  • Critical thinking
Much of this book deals with terms, and how we define and understand the world. Some of these may seem strange to readers, not accustomed to thinking about the world (or ourselves) in these ways.
fighting-back-the-right
David Niose is, of course, President of the American Humanist Association, as well as the Secular Coalition of America. The theme of his book revolves very much around the idea of freethought, a Enlightenment term which is not the same thing as open-minded, but, as he reminds us, thinking that is free from “dogma, superstition, and other irrational authority.”
Likewise, as he points out, freethought is not synonymous with secular. Saying you are a freethinker, he explains, makes a “broader declaration” about your thinking. Being a freethinker means you reject “unsupported claims of authority” and hold “a belief that reason and empiricism are the best means of attaining truth.”
Right there is the difference between the left and right in American politics today, and this is the most important distinction to be made in the book: the left operates out of an evidence-based world while the right clings to beliefs about what the world should be, or what they want it to be. The Bush administration admitted to creating their own reality and changing that faster than we could catch up, and conservatives haven’t stopped since.
If some of this book retreads familiar ground, it is eye-opening in many ways. It is meant to challenge your assumptions, and if there is one thing a freethinker should be able to do, it is to challenge his or her assumptions about the world.
I grew up in a very conservative household, and I began to have my assumptions challenged very early on, all the way into college and beyond. We don’t realize sometimes how locked into certain ways of thinking we can be. And this again is one of the themes of Niose’s book, that we are not always as forward-thinking as we assume.
As a Heathen, I don’t fit neatly into any of the niches Niose defines here. I am religious, but I am a secularist. Like John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, I have my religious beliefs which do not affect my acceptance of science and its role. Niose speaks of this as the ability to compartmentalize our thinking. I understand the proper roles of science and religion, and government and religion. I am, says Niose, I suspect because we define “religion” differently, a part-time freethinker.
Niose wants to make the terms “progressive” and “freethinker” generally synonymous, and here again I think he differs from Ferris, who has a far less wholesome view of progressivism. I suspect part of the problem here is that attempts at neat definitions escape us.
We use definitions to define and understand our world, but few of us fit neatly into our created categories. We are not all one thing or another, but there are many shades in between, where we are part one thing and part another. Despite conservatism’s slavish devotion to the Religious Right, I know Heathens who have no problem at all defining themselves as conservatives, or aligning themselves with corporate anti-government propaganda.
But one does not have to be in complete agreement with Niose with regard to his use of terms to agree with him that the essential problem facing us today is antireason. However Niose defines us, and however much his definition of you may vary from your understanding of yourself, we can agree that conservative devotion to antireason is a threat to us all. We are all in this together.
Niose is writing this book because, as he says, he believes “we can reverse the onslaught of antireason that has overtaken the country.” This onslaught is directed by nonhuman people – corporations – and liberating ourselves from antireason means returning control of our systems over to humans.
I think we on the left are sometimes confused by what we are facing. We are dealing with rampant corporatism, the elite 1 percent who control most of the wealth in our country (and the world) and religious conservatives, all functioning as an unholy alliance bent on our destruction.
It is important that we understand this bewildering array of foes, and Niose breaks down for us what precisely we are facing in terms of enemies, and how we can hope to defeat them. If the liberal era came to an end with Reagan, events have proven that change can come. What has changed for the worse can change for the better.
Niose gives us hope. This is not an epistle of despair, but more of a secular gospel of hope, and a plan for positive change. A revolution that can come about only through a revolution in thinking. As he puts it, a serious discussion about our values as a society.
We have options.
Much of the change we have seen since World War II and the closing of our society centers around wingnut religious delusion: the addition of “dog Bless America” to our vocabulary (1938), the National Day of Prayer (1952), “One Nation under dog” (1954) and “In dog We Trust” (1956), and the first president to “dog Bless America” (1973). Noise calls this the “fence of piety” surrounding American politics.
But a fence built can be torn down and Niose’s appeal to a “secular emergence” is not unreasonable. There is hope in recent polling to suggest that it is not even unrealistic in our lifetimes. Here, Niose lays out a plan to affect that change.
It is change we need not only in culture war terms, because as we watch our world collapse around us in drought and wildfire and other natural disasters, rising sea levels and water shortages, and see the dearth of pragmatism directed at the dangers of global warming, we realize that without a change in our own thinking, no effective answers will be forthcoming.
In reading Niose’s book, I can’t help but think back to Carl Sagan’s magnum opus, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997). Science is our last line of defense as a species against people who think a god or demons are the major threat facing us. Science is what shows us that our biggest enemy on this planet is ourselves.
This makes David Niose’s Fighting Back the Right more important than ever. Read it. Challenge your assumptions, and help reclaim America from the attack on reason.

NC food stamp approval among slowest in nation

Food stamps cardThe federal government is again threatening to withdraw operational funding for North Carolina's food stamp program – this time over the speed at which health officials are approving applications.
In a letter to the state's health agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said North Carolina social services workers failed to approve applications within the required 30-day window, or one week for emergency applications. In 2013, the state processed those applications an average of 75 percent of the time, ranking fifth from the bottom when compared to the rest of the country.
That means North Carolina lags behind neighbors Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina and even territories such as the Virgin Islands and Guam.
"The State's chronically poor performance in timeliness is in direct conflict with application processing statutory and regulatory provisions meant to protect a low-income household's right to receive nutrition assistance in a timely manner," USDA Regional Administrator Robin Bailey Jr. wrote last Thursday in the letter to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Operational funding at risk
The "advance warning" letter puts at risk the administrative funding the state and counties use to run the Food and Nutrition Services program.
DHHS Deputy Secretary of Human Services Sherry Bradsher said that, given how federal officials measure "timeliness," it's clear very few food stamp recipients are seeing problems with their benefits.
There is confusion among state officials, however, about how the USDA is getting that measurement – and why it's so different from the state's numbers.
Bradsher said she hopes to have answers by the end of the week. But she said the reports the state monitors from counties hadn't raised any red flags prior to the letter.
"As a state, we've been doing really well," Bradsher said. "We've been progressively getting better, which is exactly the trend we want to see – and doing that, quite honestly, with a few bumps in the road here and there in terms of getting to that steady state with all of our benefit programs."
Bradsher acknowledged there was a discrepancy between her evaluation and that of the USDA. But she said the rollout of NC FAST, a massive  technology upgrade meant to streamline the delivery of public assistance, and a growing demand for social services have been a challenge for staff at the county and state level.
"It all culminates in a way that makes it difficult to manage at best, but I think we're doing a good job managing it and moving the state forward," Bradsher said.
She said counties have seen a flood of applications for other services since November 2014, such as Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act and requests for heating assistance during the winter, which have slowed processing in other areas.
These surges come after the time period the USDA examined. In fact, updated data the federal agency references in its letter show the best processing rates actually tick up a few percentage points from July to December 2014, although they're still well below the federal standard.
Since then, DHHS officials have determined the state went from a timeliness rate of about 70 percent to almost 79 percent in March. Bradsher feared that period would show a downward trend.
"Much to my surprise and, really, gratefulness, we didn't see that, we didn't experience that, even with those applications," Bradsher said. "It's a level of assurance that we are getting to a better place."
State health officials will work with the USDA and aim to comply with the federal 95-percent requirement by January.
Part of that effort, DHHS officials say, will be working with counties to encourage more hiring and provide more training – an effort the state has employed in the past.
More trouble for social services
It's been a little more than a year since DHHS emerged from a similar USDA threat that also would have suspended nearly $90 million in administrative funding from the state and counties, which actually administer the program.
The problems began to mount in 2013 with the gradual rollout of NC FAST, which is designed to pull together 19 systems used by social services workers in the past. Technical problems, a boom in demand for social services and an intermittent flood of applications from the federal HealthCare.gov system hit food stamp recipients hard.
In December 2013, social services workers struggled with a massive backlog of food stamp cases that hovered around 35,000, with thousands of families waiting months for benefits.
Following weeks of warnings from the USDA, state and county workers scrambled to drive down the backlog in the spring of 2014. The effort met the federal agency's March deadline, but it was costly to counties, which were forced to expand their workforces and pay overtime.
In his letter, Bailey acknowledged the work of state and county workers to correct problems with food stamp services.
"However, concerns remain with North Carolina's long-term trends in overall application processing timeliness, and the hardships this creates for thousands of low-income households across North Carolina," Bailey wrote.
While he noted that rolling out a new upgrade such as NC FAST does take time and adjustment, "timely access to [Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program] for eligible low-income North Carolina residents should not be contingent upon program modernization."
The federal agency requires the state to respond within 30 days with a plan to get back on track, including an analysis of the problems and who, specifically, will work to correct them. Data from the state must also show progress toward the 95 percent compliance rate, which social services workers must reach during the first half of 2016.
The deadlines mean state will have some time before the USDA moves to pull funding.
Inadequate progress would trigger a "formal" warning letter. If the state fails to respond adequately within 30 days of that letter, FNS could then choose to suspend funding.

Democratic Congresswoman Receives Death Threats For Proposing Gun Liability Insurance Bill

Dem Congresswoman Receives Death Threats For Proposing Gun Liability Insurance Bill (SCREENSHOTS)
Maybe some people should have their guns taken away.
Read more 

If The Supreme Court Guts Obamacare, Republicans Can Kiss Their Senate Majority Goodbye

The state's that would be most affected by ending Obamacare subsidies, also states the Republican Cabal needs to win, to keep control of the Senate.…
mitch-mcconnell-turtle-power
With a Supreme Court ruling on the King v Burwell case looming, the GOP has no contingency plan to help the nearly 6.5 million Americans in 34 states who will be hurt by a potential court decision eliminating the federal subsidies, made available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At first blush, a Supreme Court ruling that strikes at the heart of Obamacare would seem like a clear Republican victory.
However, because such a ruling would have a profound impact on a number of crucial battleground states in 2016, the ruling would create a backlash against Republicans in states necessary to win the 2016 presidential election. Also, many of the state’s that would be most affected by an end to federal Obamacare subsidies are also states with key races for control of the U.S. Senate. Ironically, Republicans who have spent the past half-decade trying to repeal Obamacare, may soon discover that a Supreme Court decision in their favor will prove a Pyrrhic victory that costs them control of the U.S. Senate.
For example, the state that stands to lose the most from an end to tax credits made available by the federal exchange is Florida. 1.488 million Florida residents benefit from the Obamacare federal exchange subsidies, with their average annual tax credit adding up to over 3500 dollars per person. Ironically, the nation’s most Obamacare dependent city is the Republican working class Miami suburb of Hialeah, Florida, where 37 percent of city residents were uninsured before Obamacare passed, and roughly another 37 percent were subsidized by public insurance through Medicare or Medicaid.
If the Supreme Court ends the federal exchange subsidies, not all voters will blame the GOP for taking away their affordable health care coverage. However, if even a small percentage of the 1.488 million Floridians assign blame where it belongs, the Republicans will have virtually no chance of holding onto the Senate seat being vacated by Republican pretender hopeful Marco Rubio.
Florida would be the biggest loser if the Supreme Court nixes the federal exchanges, but it is not the only state with a pivotal Senate race that would lose big. 10 of the 14 states that stand the most to lose if Obamacare subsidies are gutted by the Supreme Court are states where Republicans must defend a Senate seat in 2016. If the Supreme Court elects to pull the subsidies from millions of Americans, the backlash could have a direct impact on vulnerable incumbent Senators in several of those states.
Pat Toomey (PA), Ron Johnson (WI), Mark Kirk (IL), Rob Portman (OH), and Richard Burr (NC) seem particularly vulnerable, and each of them represent states that are among those that stand the most to lose if the federal exchanges are ended.
The irony that a wingnut Supreme Court ruling could have the unintended consequence of throwing Republicans out as the majority party in the U.S. Senate, only underscores the additional irony that it is Republican voters who are Obamacare’s prime beneficiaries. While Republican voters may be critical of Obamacare because they fail to understand it, they are disproportionately helped by the program.
An Urban Institute study on who would lose insurance if the Supreme Court declares the federal tax credits illegal, found that white lower and middle-income Southerners would be the biggest losers if the Obamacare subsidies are eliminated. At some level, this Republican-leaning bloc of voters will have only themselves to blame. However, because Republicans cannot even afford to lose a handful of these voters in Senate battleground states like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, the wingnut Roberts Court could end up ironically becoming the Republican Cabal’s worst enemy.

Solidly Republican Town Enrolls More People in Obamacare Than Anywhere in the Country

The town that signed up the most people for Obamacare is a "solidly Republican working-class town" in Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio's "stomping grounds". …
obamacare is awesome/   [CC image credit: Will O'Neill | Flickr.]
As Republicans work to kill Obamacare by killing the tax subsidies for people in states — almost all Republican-misled or were at the time — that didn’t set up their own ACA exchanges, data shows that the town that signed up the most people for Obamacare is a “solidly Republican working-class town” in Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s “stomping grounds”.
Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico reported:
The unlikely epicenter of Obamacare lies in a solidly Republican working-class town just 10 miles outside of the Miami stomping grounds of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
The city of Hialeah — a Cuban-American neighborhood of Spanish speakers that is blanketed with Obamacare advertisements — enrolled more people under the Affordable Care Act than anywhere in the country.
The tax subsidies issue is before the Supreme Court in King V. Burwell, and a decision is expected this month. The challenge to Obamacare is being sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute. They are a Libertarians who are huge climate change skeptics — in fact, the group’s Senior Fellow once penned a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury after he said Christians had a duty to reduce greenhouse gasses, warning that reducing emissions even a tiny bit could kill lots of people.
The city of Hialeah voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Marco Rubio in 2010, Haberkorn points out, further writing, “It’s a Republican stronghold in the more Democratic Miami-Dade County.”
And it’s not just this little town.
Only 13 states have their own exchanges. If the remaining states lose their subsidies, Republicans will be on the hook for taking insurance away from some 6.5 million people — ironically many of them Republicans.
If Republicans prevail with the Supreme Court challenge, Haberkorn reminds us of an Urban.Org study that pointed out the people at the most risk of losing subsidies are predominately Southern whites who make modest incomes. Your basic Republican voter.
There are only three red states with their own exchanges: Kentucky, Idaho, and Texas. Kentucky’s was set up by the Democratic governor, so it might not technically count as a “red” state in this scenario, whereas New Mexico has a Republican governor but they vote Democratic in presidential elections and they have a state exchange.
Under Obamacare, nearly 17 million have gotten insurance coverage since the fall of 2013.
Every single one of the predictions Republicans howled for years about Obamacare turned out to be untrue. People didn’t stop hiring, majority of people didn’t lose their insurance, it wasn’t all Medicaid, and private employers didn’t stop offering insurance (the opposite happened).
How will Republicans deal with the fallout and explain to their working class voters that they are taking away their insurance because they were sure Republicans would hate it? If history is any indication, Republicans will simply blame Obama for taking away tax subsidies, when in fact it is Republicans who are trying to kill the subsidies because they feel tax subsidies should go only to big oil and other big corporations who don’t want to pay taxes. They will give press conferences with earnest expressions of concern touting their as yet never proposed alternative.
Back when Republicans were issuing dire warnings that Obamacare would (literally, they claimed — remember “Death Panels”) kill people and everyone would hate it, I wrote that people would want their Obamacare when they got it. Here it is – a solidly Republican working class town has signed up the most people, in the state that houses two of the Republican 2016 front-runners.
The good news for Republicans is that Republican voters are kept in such a cult-like bubble that they might never realize why their subsidies are being taken from them, or even that they were signed up for Obamacare. Apparently Republicans believe that the only way they can keep voters is to keep them misinformed and ignorant.

Bernie Sanders Beats Down Jeb Bush For Proposing Massive Cuts To Social Security

bernie sanders 2016 koch brothers
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took down Jeb Bush for proposing massive cuts to Social Security.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said:
I have a hard time understanding what world Gov. Bush and his billionaire backers live in.

At a time when more than half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings, it would be a disaster to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age. It is unacceptable to ask construction workers, truck drivers, nurses and other working-class Americans to work until they are 68 to 70 years old before qualifying for full Social Security benefits.

Jeb Bush’s plan to raise the retirement age is just a continuation of the war that is being waged by the Republicans against working-class Americans to reward billionaires on Wall Street.
When the average Social Security benefit is just $1,328 a month, and more than one-third of our senior citizens rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income, our job must be to expand benefits, not cut them. The way to do that is to eliminate the cap on all income above $250,000 so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security as middle-class Americans. I have introduced legislation to do just that.
Sanders was responding to Jeb Bush’s plan to force average Americans to work longer by raising the retirement age.
Jeb Bush has not learned from the mistakes of his brother. Harming Social Security is a de facto position for every Republican presidential candidate during the primary, but Bush has run afoul of the biggest Social Security defender in the 2016 field. Sanders not only defends Social Security, he is aggressively proposing an expansion of the program.
It was fitting for Sen. Sanders to question what planet Jeb Bush and his billionaire backers are living on. When one considers the fact that Bush also believes that Obamacare can be replaced by the Apple Watch, the Republican’s vision for the working people of America comes into sharper focus.
Bernie Sanders is fighting for millionaires to pay their fair share when it comes to funding Social Security. Jeb Bush’s solution is to tell the American people that they must work until they drop. Sen. Sanders (I-VT) delivered a smackdown to Jeb Bush that should serve as a warning. If Bush campaigns on gutting Social Security, he is going to be subjected to more Bernie beatdowns.

Bernie Sanders Obliterates Republican Attempts To Bring Him Down With Sex Essay Smear

Bernie Sanders sex essay meet the press
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) confronted the Republican attempts to use a 43-year-old essay against him and destroyed their attempts to bring him down on Meet The Press.
Chuck Todd asked Sanders to explain the essay, and Sen. Sanders answered:
Sure. This is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think. That was 43 years ago, and if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes. Why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive. You know, something like 50 Shades of Grey. Very poorly written, forty-three years ago. What I am focusing on right now are the issues impacting the American people today, and what I will continue to focus on.
The brief amount of time Todd devoted to the essay question immediately infuriated Republicans on Twitter:
Only in the mind of a Republican could a piece of written satire be equated to the sexual abuse allegations against Denny Hastert stemming from his time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.
It was obvious that Chuck Todd had little interest in the subject, so he asked the question that he thought he had to ask. He gave Sen. Sanders a chance to explain himself, and the Democratic presidential candidate did exactly that. There is less than nothing to this story. Sen. Sanders’ voting record and decades of advocacy don’t back up anything that was written in the essay.
Bernie Sanders knocked down the Republican attempt to ruin his presidential campaign in less than a minute, but by trying to gin up a scandal, it is clear that Republicans are looking to distract attention away from the Duggar and Hastert scandals.
More importantly, Republicans are terrified of Bernie Sanders. The candidate doesn’t frighten them as much as the message. A Republican Cabal that is controlled by a handful of wingnut billionaires and corporations is witnessing a populist movement of millions gain strength against them.
The movement is being led by Bernie Sanders. Sen. Sanders has stated that one of the goals of his presidential campaign is to build a movement to take back the country from the Koch brothers and wingnut billionaires. The Sanders movement has raised millions of dollars and attracted hundreds of thousands of volunteers. Sanders is shooting up in the polls, and Republicans are worried.
Sen. Sanders knocked down the Republican attempts to stop him with ease, as the voices of millions of Americans who want their government back grow louder by the day.
The wingnut billionaires are worried because Bernie Sanders is coming for them.

Bob Schieffer Goes Out With A Bang By Calling Out Jeb Bush On Face The Nation

bob schieffer
Bob Schieffer interviewed Jeb Bush on his last episode moderating CBS’ Face The Nation, and the retiring host asked Bush about violating campaign finance laws and called him out when he suggested that he wasn’t sure if he was going to run for president.
SCHIEFFER: Governor, let’s talk a little bit about politics. It’s pretty obvious that you’re running for president. You’re going around the country. You’re raising huge amounts of money for your super PAC, in addition to making all the traditional campaign stops everywhere.
Watchdog groups and some of your opponents are saying you’re really maybe violating campaign laws, and that the attorney general ought to be investigating, because they point out that you can’t raise money and coordinate strategy with these super PACs. And once you declare as a candidate, you can’t do that anymore.
Do you think, in some way, you may be just at least violating the spirit of the law? Do you feel that you have violated the law here?
BUSH: No, of course not. I would never do that.
And I’m nearing the end of this journey of traveling and listening to people, garnering, trying to get a sense of whether my candidacy would be viable or not. We’re going to complete — completely adhere to the law, for her.
Look, politics is politics. There’s always people that are going to be carping on the sidelines. And should I be a candidate — and that will be in the relatively near future, where that decision will be made — there will be no coordination at all with any super PAC.
SCHIEFFER: Now, you’re not telling me that there’s a possibility you may not run?
BUSH: Look, I hope I — I hope I run, to be honest with you. I would like to run. But I haven’t made the decision.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what would have to happen between now and then to convince you not to run?
BUSH: Who knows. Who knows. I have learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.
SCHIEFFER: You’re probably going to run.
Notice that Jeb Bush phrased his answer in the future tense. Bush is breaking campaign finance laws right now, but he cleverly tried to dodge the issue by claiming that he would never do that, even though he is already doing it.
Bob Schieffer deserves credit for bringing up the topic and asking Bush the question. Schieffer has been the biggest and the only mainstream member of the press to ask Jeb Bush about his fundraising. Schieffer also did Bush no favors when he all but declared that Bush is already a candidate for president.
Sunday was Bob Schieffer’s last day as the host of Face The Nation. The long-time CBS newsman is going into retirement. By applying a little common sense to the discussion, Schieffer showed why Jeb Bush’s illegal fundraising is a house of implausible cards. Face The Nation has been at the top of the Sunday show ratings mostly because of Schieffer. His style was the perfect complement to CBS Sunday Morning.
Bob Schieffer went out with a bang in his own folksy way. He called B.S. on Jeb Bush and opened the door for more questions to be asked about Bush’s illegal fundraising operation.

Millionaire Jeb Bush Decides That Americans Need To Work Longer Before They Can Retir

Jeb BushSlackers. Jeb Bush is calling to push the retirement age to 68 or 70. That will fix you entitled slackers.
The former Florida Governor, who was in office when his brother – former President George W. Bush, son of the other former President George Bush – won an election determined by a narrow margin in Jeb’s state, has decided that you all need to work longer.
Like, say until you’re 70, because “entitlements”.
Jeb Bush is going to “protect” your Social Security by taking it away for three to five years, “We need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in, over an extended period of time – going from 65 to 68 or 70. And that, by itself, will help sustain the retirement system for anybody under the age of 40.”
Asked about means testing, Bush said that sure, it could be considered. I mean, yeah, you would think if it were “entitlements” that Republicans were worried about, they would want to go after those double dipping richies, but Bush first wants to make sure you work longer.
That is what he would stand for if he were actually running for President, you see.
But Bush won’t say he is running for President yet, because that would mean he was violating campaign laws, and we all know laws are for the little people. Jeb Bush doesn’t mind talking on TV about things he would do if President…
… Just as a “thinking” about it kind of thing, which is why Bush was on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday. Because he’s thinking about maybe running for president. And if he decides to, well then, wink wink, he won’t violate any campaign laws. Oh, no, he’s getting that done now. Wink wink.
Even though he’s not “running” for President yet and couldn’t tell the not-buying-it Bob Schieffer under what circumstances he would NOT run, we should still remind everyone that Bush’s “solution” to a problem that doesn’t exist yet (reports suggest it could be a problem in 2033, but by problem they don’t mean unfunded, they mean that the trust fund is projected to cover 77% of benefits due) takes aim at the middle and lower classes, because as a Republican he doesn’t believe in raising taxes – even the FICA tax – and because they won’t really consider means-testing.
But the bigger question should be, why attack this “problem” as if it were the most pressing issue of the day? Why not talk about getting some corporations to pay even a bit of the tax percentage that the average citizen pays. That would sure give us some money to help the deficit. Or how about talking about creating good paying jobs. Or helping families with a paid leave act.
Things that are pressing right now. Why would the first “solution” be to force the American people to work longer? Haven’t they been hit enough, being forced to pay for too-big-to-fail banks even as they lost their retirement savings due to those banks and then being told they had to tighten their belts because we must all give, while corporations and the very wealthy got away with legally not even doing their share?
Jeb Bush 2016: The same old “solutions” from the same old privilege. Y’all are so entitled, you will need to work until you’re 70 so that the real entitled, the people who are entitled to be entitled, don’t have to pay any taxes. Be grateful.

No Matter How Far Over The Edge Texas Republicans Go, Teabagger Agitators Shriek It’s Not Far Enough

The Texas legislature has passed extensive wingnut legislation. Yet, teabagger agitators still shriek that they are not wingnut enough.…

Judge Throws The Book At 'christian' cabal That Fired Woman For Being Pregnant

Featured image by √ėyvind Holmstad. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia CommonsA 'christian' non-profit cabal fired a woman because she was pregnant, and a US District Court made them pay the price for it.

Fox News Interview Backfires Instead Shows Why Duggars Should Never Be Allowed Back On TV

The Duggars interview on Fox News backfired. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar showed no remorse, claimed that they were victims of the police and media and revealed to…
jim bob michelle duggar megyn kelly
The Duggars interview on Fox News backfired. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar showed no remorse, claimed that they were victims of the police and media, and revealed to the world why they should never be allowed back on television.
The interview intro featured Megyn Kelly referring to Josh Duggar’s admitted child molestation as “allegations.” Megyn Kelly’s intro sounded like it came directly from the Duggars agent.
The interview began with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar repeating their press release. The Duggar parents said that they were devastated. Jim Bob said that Josh was just curious about girls, and the girls didn’t even know that he did it. (Jim Bob and Michelle are working hard to whitewash their son’s crimes.) Jim Bob said, “Looking back, we did the best we could under the circumstances.” The Duggars claimed that this happens in a lot parents’ homes. Jim Bob said, “Again, this is not rape or something like that.”
Jim Bob Duggar claimed that they didn’t send their molesting son for real help, because real programs don’t have a good success rate. Jim Bob hinted that God cured Josh Duggar’s habit of molesting his sisters, Michelle Duggar said that her son knew in his heart it was wrong.
Megyn Kelly’s “tough questions” involve asking a lot of, ‘what was that like for you?’ Job Bob repeated that Christian based non-professional counseling turned his molester son’s life around.
Michelle Duggar was asked if she feared for the safety of her daughters, and she answered that they put safeguards in place, but she expressed no fear for her daughters. Jim Bob Duggar admitted that they didn’t try to protect their daughters as much as, “Josh’s heart went astray.” Jim Bob tried to explain it away again by saying that none of the girls knew about it or understood what he had done. Duggar was claiming that Josh Duggar’s child molestation was a victimless crime.
In the next segment, the Duggars denied that they covered up their son’s crimes. Jim Bob said that the selection of the trooper was random. The Duggars said that the child pornography convicted cop put the fear of God into Josh. The Duggar parents said that Josh Duggar and all of their kids received professional counseling.
Jim Bob Duggar claimed that his family had nothing to hide by the time the TLC show began. Jim Bob said that God has forgiven Josh Duggar, and then the Fox News witch hunt against the police chief who leaked the report began. The Duggars speculated that the chief was bribed. The Duggars said that they want to be advocated for protecting juvenile records. The Duggars claimed that they are the victims in the situation because the sealed Josh Duggar police report was leaked. Jim Bob Duggar quoted Mike Huckabee saying that Josh should be forgiven.
If this interview was intended to get the Duggars their television show back, it backfired. In the entire hour, there was no apology from the Duggars who denied that there is any hypocrisy in their behavior. Michelle Duggar claimed that there is an agenda, and Josh Duggar’s actions are being twisted to hurt and slander the family.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar showed no remorse and argued for the rest of the family not being punished for what Josh did. It is obvious that TLC and the Duggars are working together, and this interview was designed to get them back on television, whether it be as 19 Kids and Counting or a spinoff.
The Duggars claimed that they were victimized by the police, and their trust was betrayed.
Fox News thought they were helping to save the Duggars, but in reality, they did the public a favor by showing the world why this family should not be allowed on national television. The Duggars think that they are the victims, which is why this twisted family should never be on television again.

Residents Of Poor Michigan Town Forced To Pay For Police Brutality Settlement

inkster police carInkster, Michigan homeowners will soon face a steep property tax levy to pay the costs of a 1.38 million dollar settlement reached between the city of Inkster and Floyd Dent, a motorist who was savagely beaten by Inkster Police Officer William Melendez. Although 38 percent of Inkster residents live below the federal poverty level, and the average home value is just 55,000 dollars, local homeowners will be forced to pay out an average of 179 dollars a household to offset the costs of the settlement.
Floyd Dent, an African-American motorist was beaten during a traffic stop on January 28th. The beating was captured on videotape and it showed Officer Melendez punching Dent 16 times. Since the incident, Officer Melendez has since been fired from the Inkster Police Department.
He faces felony charges for misconduct in office for mistreatment of a prisoner, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm. If convicted on both counts, Melendez could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
The city of Inkster has a population of about 25,000 residents. Nearly three-fourths of Inkster’s population is African-American. Police brutality settlements are typically borne by the residents of the community being brutalized.
However, the irony is rarely more apparent than in Inkster where a small population of low and middle-income black homeowners will bear the brunt of the costs of paying for the abuse of a fellow black resident at the hands of a non-black police officer.
Clearly cities have a responsibility to compensate victims of police abuse, when local police departments act unlawfully. Floyd Dent is entitled to receive his settlement for the unwarranted brutality he suffered at the hands of an Inkster cop. Nevertheless, it is a tragic irony that the city will pass the costs off onto the citizens of Inkster. For they are the very same people who are being subjected to the police abuse they are now being asked to pay for.

Cheating, Wife-Beating, Bush-Appointed Federal Judge Resigns In Shame

Cheating, Wife-Beating, Bush-Appointed Federal Judge Resigns In ShameThis morally deficient Republican will no longer be sitting in judgement of others.

School Fires Veteran English Teacher For Reading Poem About Homosexuality

Image via Wikimedia
A public school in Connecticut has fired a well-respected and loved English teacher because one student didn’t like a poem that was read during class.

Man Sues Dept. Of Education For Teaching Evolution To Aspiring Veterinarian Daughter

Man Sues Dept. Of Education For Teaching Evolution To Aspiring Veterinarian Daughter
The fake war on 'christian' freedom continues.

W.Va. Lawsuit Claims Evolution Is A ‘Religion’ That Violates Students’ Freedumbs

Image: cc 2006 Latvian/Flickr.Here’s a new twist on the religion and education debate: Can teaching evolution jeopardize a child’s future career as a veterinarian?

Kentucky police shipped mentally ill inmate to Florida by Greyhound bus — then charged him with escape

Adam Horine - Carrollton Police Department
Despite the judge’s order and the mental health evaluation, the police chief instructed an officer to drive Horine 50 miles in a police cruiser to Louisville where he bought Horine a one-way bus ticket to Florida with money given to him by the chief.

Michigan Cops Legally 'Rob' Medical Marijuana Patient Of 'Every Belonging' -- Even Her Vibrator

Michigan Cops Legally 'Rob' Medical Marijuana Patient Of 'Every Belonging' -- Even Her Vibrator
Medical marijuana user Ginnifer Hency told a group of Michigan lawmakers last week that a drug task force raided her home and kept 'every belonging' she owned -- including her vibrator -- even after a judge dismissed the charges against her.
A St. Clair County judge dropped the charges against Hency, but for 10 months law enforcement officials have refused to give back her belongings. “They have had my stuff for 10 months, my ladder, my iPad, my children’s iPads, my children’s phones, my medicine for my patients,” Hency noted. “Why a ladder? Why my vibrator, I don’t know either. Why TVs?”