Yeah, About That 2nd Amendment Thing…

An interesting video from Disturb Reality:

“What happens when a white guy walks down the street with an AR-15 versus what happens when a black guy walks down the street with same gun and same laws.”

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Wonder if the NRA saw this video… nah, I’m sure they’d be screaming about this black gentleman’s rights… aren’t you?

Iraq, Obamacare, ISIS, REALITY/TRUTH & the New Apple Watch, What’s a Baby Brother to do?!

jeb bush

Former Florida Governor, 2016 GOP presidential hopeful- John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

In hindsight, history, ‘Monday Morning Quarter-backing”, whichever terminology you prefer, the week of May 11, 2015, revealed Jeb Bush is NOT only vastly incompetent for the Presidency, but confirmed a more astounding feat: … for the voters, leaving no doubt, he is more stupid than older brother George.

His brazen pursuit of the Bush clan’s legacy toward dismantling America with a 3rd disastrous iteration for the sake of pillaging the nation’s resources for his fellow oligarchs, stumbled precipitously on unforced political errors.

5/11/15: At the opening of the week, he relegated himself to doting ‘babyBush’. Jeb affirmed his support for invading Iraq, remaining in Afghanistan in 2003, were not mistakes.

5/14/15: Following negative repercussions from donors and unexpected caution from old allies ( ‘bush’s brain’ – Carl Rove proclaimed indecision), smacking their heads in disbelief of such an idiotic response to the hoax of a dozen year wars, Jebby reversed his statement. Nope, nope, nope, he “would not have gone into Iraq” And last but not least, the public’s audible denouncement.

Other factual takeaways exemplifying Jeb’s pitifully, poor candidacy:

  • his foreign policy advisers are ‘has-been-hawks” who dragged the country into both wars, including his older brother George.
  • the coward couldn’t put on his big boy pants and take responsibility for his flip-flopping, but feebly attempted to drag Mrs. Clinton into the foray of his mistakes by whining Hillary voted for the war.
  • Jeb threw in for good measure the GOP tired lie …..”President Obama’s fault”…. by trying to hold Mr. Obama for the creation of ISIS…                                                                       …..EXCEPT Jeb got his ‘nads’ caught in an embarrassing, public confrontation by a very isis founders koch & bushperceptive college student, Ivy Ziedrich at a town meeting. Ms. Ziedrich bared the reality of the state of affairs: …“Your brother created Isis!”

……….“When we sent young men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism,” Ziedrich asked, “why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?” Jeb Bush had nothing.

No wonder the GOP wants to slash education budgets from the states to restricting college accessibility to only the privilege like the Bushs. They achieve success through legacies, blinding – offensive ignorance, nepotism and embarrassingly flounder when confronted by moral, knowledgeable, less monied people.

5/13/15: Oops, almost forgot, Jebby stated publicly, “I’m running for president in 2016″ and coordinates super-pac, Right to Rise. Unfortunately, per the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002, y’a can’t do both, therefore, ILLEGAL. The rational of the act was to end the use of nonfederal, or “soft money” for activity affecting federal elections. Citizens’ United and McCutcheon obliterated protections of compromising elections with soft money. Only the provision prohibiting candidates’ direct management of their own super-pacs feeding into campaigns remains unblemished….for now.

However, aside from dithering on the established, gigantic failures of his brother’s Presidency, (violating federal election law), Jeb proclaimed his GOP resolution for dismantling Obamacare….wait for it…. the Apple Watch. Just think imagine: horrific car accidents, heart attacks, disabilities, diabetes, no longer health issues according to Jeb Bush, all can be diagnosed and treated by wearing a watch. On that GOP epiphany to American healthcare, I leave you to ponder the living nightmare & horror of a John Ellis Bush Presidency. Inflicting simple minded policies, ideas and wars, WORLDWIDE ….truly his father’s son and ‘Dubba’s hauntingly, larger shadow’.

The Danger Of Abortion Bans

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Bush Lied And Americans Died, And Now Jeb Continues The Lie

This week Jeb Bush experienced a backlash from some in the conservative community when he said, knowing what we know now, he still supported invading Iraq. Part of that answer included the favorite pass-the-buck lie of RWNJs and neo-cons, that the “intelligence was faulty” and everyone was fooled. That answer only holds up if you were too young or stupid to remember the full speed neo-con rush to war, with the Bush administration busily spreading propaganda in interviews and speeches all across the nation, while Hans Blix and the weapons inspectors completed 700 inspections and concluded there were no WMDs. It was all a lie. And as you know, no WMDs were ever found during the long Iraq War.

In this extended excerpt, Paul Waldman of The American Prospect reminds us how the intelligence was fabricated to please the Dubya administration and why Jeb shouldn’t get away continuing his brother’s lie (my emphasis):

You can’t understand the decisions that led to the Iraq War without grasping just how incredibly politicized the intelligence process had become in the months before the war. Every piece of intelligence that passed through the American government was subject to different interpretations depending on who was looking at it, and throughout there was intense pressure on people within the intelligence community to deliver to the senior people in the Bush administration—the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, and others—exactly what everybody knew they wanted.

And what they wanted was war. Today, Republicans act as though the intelligence community burst into the Oval Office and said, “Mr. President, Mr. President, Iraq is a terrible threat, and if we don’t invade we’re doomed!” and then Bush said, “Gee, if you say so, I guess we’d better.” But it worked the other way around.

Taking out Saddam Hussein was a priority for many of the senior people in the administration from the moment they took office, and after September 11 it was amped up into a public campaign that can go by no other name but propaganda. When those in the intelligence community saw the administration’s leaders on TV talking about how Iraq was in cahoots with al-Qaeda and had all kinds of ghastly weapons, you better believe they got the message right quick.

Much of the pressure was informal and much of it came from the understandable desire not to miss something that could lead to another 9/11, but there were practical ways in which “the intelligence” was distorted to serve the administration’s purposes as well. For instance, there was a special office within the Department of Defense, staffed by neoconservatives long committed to overthrowing Saddam Hussein, whose job was to cherry-pick intelligence snippets that could be used to paint a picture of a terribly threatening Iraq, then send it up the chain to be used by senior officials in their public persuasion efforts. The administration even pressured CIA interrogators to torture detainees in a futile effort to produce “evidence” of a link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda.

So it isn’t correct to say “the intelligence” about Iraq was wrong, even if there were specific bits of information that turned out to be false. The truth is that the Bush administration hyped every bit of intelligence it could find that could be presented as proving that Iraq presented a dire threat, while downplaying any information or conclusion that pointed in the other direction.

Yet if there was anything that characterized the administration and its defenders during the run-up to the war, it was confidence, their absolute certainty that the case for the existence of Saddam’s WMD arsenal was iron-clad and the war would go precisely according to plan. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction; there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us,” said Dick Cheney in a key speech in August 2002. “We know they have weapons of mass destruction. We know they have active programs. There isn’t any debate about it,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “This is going to be a two-month war, not an eight-year war,” said Bill Kristol. And of course, Cheney insisted that “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

To hear Republicans tell it today, it wasn’t just the administration but everyone who believed that at the time, yet this too is false. While many Democrats cast a craven vote in favor of the war, there were plenty of people at the time warning that the evidence for WMDs was shaky and that we were headed for a disaster that would play out over the course of years, just as it did. For instance, reporters from Knight-Ridder produced a series of articles casting serious doubts on the WMD claims. In the fall of 2002, months before the war began, James Fallows published a long article in the The Atlantic entitled “The Fifty-First State?” based on interviews with dozens of experts who painted a grim picture of what lay ahead. “Merely itemizing the foreseeable effects of a war with Iraq suggests reverberations that would be felt for decades,” Fallows wrote. “If we can judge from past wars, the effects we can’t imagine when the fighting begins will prove to be the ones that matter most.”

So let’s make no mistake: “Faulty intelligence” didn’t produce the deaths of 4,000 American service members and a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi civilians. Faulty intelligence didn’t strengthen Iran’s position in the region, lead to an exponential increase in anti-Americanism, and give rise to ISIS. It was the delusions, deceptions, and hubris of the Bush administration and its supporters. They got exactly the intelligence they demanded, and used it to ends they had decided on long before.

Its true that the victors get to write history. But its unacceptable to lie, rewrite history blaming others for your lie, and then blame those who were fooled by your lie. Jeb blamed Hillary for voting for the authorization for war. But Hillary, like millions around the world, had no idea the lengths the Bush administration would go to take-out one man. Their insidious web of lies cost thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and over a trillion U.S. dollars that could have been put to better use in this country. Dubya and Cheney should have been tried for crimes against humanity but our President Obama decided to turn the other cheek. The question should be, “Knowing what we know now about the fabricated intelligence by the Bush administration, should Bush and Cheney have been put on trial for their crimes?” That answer would be a resounding “YES!”

Georgia Principal Fired After Racist Remarks

A rare moment of justice in response to last week’s racist remarks by a Georgia Principal made during a graduation ceremony. AJC.com posted the statement released yesterday by the the board of directors of TNT Academy (my emphasis):

In light of recent events, the board of directors of TNT Academy has moved to dismiss Nancy Gordeuk as principal,” Anderson said in the email, which the state NAACP sent to The AJC. “During the coming transition, we will continue to prioritize support for our most recent graduates. Moreover, we will continue our commitment to providing students with the best educational classes, transcription services and academic credit recovery possible.”

The Georgia NAACP released a statement late Thursday morning applauding the TNT Academy board’s action.

“Beyond the inappropriate remarks,” Johnson said in the statement, “the former principal attempted to legitimize the bizarre episode by claiming ‘the devil made her do it.’ The Flip Wilson defense may have worked for a comedian, but not a chief educational official charged with the overall day-to-day management of academic and school operations.”

Johnson went on to say that the NAACP “would defend Mrs. Gordeuk’s right as a private citizen to free speech. However, those entrusted with responsibility for our children must set a high standard marked by civility. That is obviously a test the former principal failed.”

Friday Feminism – Abortion, Animals & the Environment

Lead Story

 Disappearing Trees: Using Google Earth To Map Deforestation

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Abortion & Reproductive Rights

A New Model in the Fight for Abortion Rights

Tennessee Republican who pressured mistress to have abortion votes to restrict them for other women – Because the only rights are Republican rights.  At least, by their way of thinking.

We’re living in an anti-choice nightmare: 25 ways anti-women warriors are playing doctor

California judge bans abstinence-only teaching in teenage pregnancy ‘hot spot’ – There’s one judge, anyway, who seems to place facts before beliefs.

NEW OBAMA ADMINISTRATION GUIDANCE AIMS TO IMPROVE CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE

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Russ Feingold To Run For Senate In 2016

The Koch brothers will have to waste millions of their ill-gotten gains in an attempt to save teabagger Ron Johnson from an almost certain defeat. In a presidential election year, DEMOCRATS VOTE. Mark down Wisconsin as BLUE in 2016.

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Religious Right’s Propaganda Fail

Listen to Republican Marsha Blackburn (TN) ramble on about “religious persecution” (translation: the inability to discriminate against the LGBT community) but fails to come up with a single example. That’s the problem with today’s teabag/repuke/libturd party – big on fear, short on facts.

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Scott Walker – Corporate Lap Dog

The Punitive policies of Motherhood; Mother’s Day is a Crock in America.

women dont tread on usNow that we’re back in the workweek following Mother’s Day weekend, put down the flowers, gifts, good feelings and return to the brass, harsh burdens this country places on motherhood.

Ranging from women earning $0.77 for every $1.00 a man is paid, the absence of a national maternity leave legislation dumps women into a cycle of inequality. The US, Papua New Guinea and Oman remain outlier countries by not providing guaranteed paid maternity leave. The necessity for women to leave the work force for motherhood or caregiver responsibilities, coincides with their prime earning years, thus contributing to female wage inequality and poverty later in life. Besides the economic consequences, there are the social and moral implications affecting disastrous dictates on women’s lives.

All Things Democrat’s Friday Feminism by Amanda Sheppard‘s astute reporting and elucidating commentary reaffirms the GOP’s unrelenting ‘War on Women’. Conservative’s preoccupation with the unborn is a pretext founded upon traditional roles of control and limiting empowerment. 2016 Koch-puppet, Gov. Scott Walker (R) – WI, audaciously promotes pro-life obstetricians from withholding the status of a fetus from pregnant women. State mandated imperilment of a woman’s health by sacrificing her legal right of self-autonomy to sustain a pregnancy is unconscionable. Eliciting adulterated stirrings from the “Hand Maiden’s Tale”,  this agenda reduces women to talking/walking uteri with the sole purpose as gestational host. And children are merely a commodity of a man’s immortal legacy.

However, Walker isn’t the only foot soldier in the pro-life movement fighting to jeopardize women lives using lies, crisis pregnancy centers. They plague, exploit women‘s trust and vulnerability at a very tenuous time with the following tactics:

For decades, conservatives concentrated punitive economic sanctions against families with ghastly outcomes. Their policies targeted social program like SNAP, Medicaid, Maternal Block Health Grant Social Security by redistributing their budgets to fill the gap left by high-income earners paying lower taxes resonates. Part of the fall-out from revamping American capitalism to more vigorously prey upon the middle class and poor, is the US mortality in motherhood has spiked over nearly a quarter century by 136%. The ‘Stars & Stripes’ claimed the global aberrant for the same period, while other countries witnessed precipitous improvement in this statistic according to the World Health Organization, WHO.

No, the insouciance toward women’s lives, their children and overall quality of life reflects the pretension of ‘traditional values’. This tired marketing ploy implemented by a desperate GOP rouses voters to the ballot box each election. Gender politics consistently culminate in depressing conditions and tragedy for its victims. The best mother’s day gift America could ever provide for all women:

  • Remove legislative obstacles from their live’s path.
  • Provide honest scientific facts upon which to make sound decisions
  • Fair wage, improve financial support for extended leave
  • And finally, negate punitive taxes, fines and imprisonment for being female.

Hamilton vs Jefferson, Federal vs State, fight continues by exploiting the animus of racism.

Salon took the initiative of reviewing of Hamilton vs Jefferson’s disparate dream of Americana filtered through the modern lens of exploiting racial politics…...

Federal vs State.  fed v state -BabaIZphine

Today, a large part of the population remains willfully racist, [TEA PARTY] and by extension, a great number of people have also become unconsciously so, buying implicitly into stereotypes about Black Americans as dependent and lazy [MITT ROMNEY]; and thus determined to stop social programs [CRUZ] and limit the federal government’s influence [PAUL] — even if it is not to their own benefit. In a sense, much of the middle class population has been HOODWINKED into voting for the interests of the top one percent GOP because of their own unconscious prejudices.

The modern evolution of the last 50 years is reflected in the words of Reagan’s campaign manager, Lee Atwater, the mutli-step evolution of the ‘Southern Strategy’:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, “n***er, n***er, n***er,”. “[But] by 1968 you can’t say ‘n***er’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.

You’re getting so abstract now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks [2015 GOP re-termed -THUGS] get hurt worse than whites.”

Today, the descendants of the ‘White Citizens Council‘  mercilessly endorse candidates seeking to eliminate programs that provide affordable housing, put food on tables, and save their constituents’ lives. All the while the richest and most bigoted Congress in a generation suck on the tit of the very federal government they seek to destroy and reverse the country’s progress over the last half century.

Diane Black Should Focus on Big Tax Cheats

I received my usual Republican Representative’s email a couple of days ago; one has to subscribe to the opposition’s propaganda, for the humor if nothing else.

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black’s most recent “update” is titled, “Does This Seem Fair to You?”, a condemnation of IRS employees with delinquent tax bills. Now we all know Republicans are hell-bent on dismantling the IRS, so Black’s latest nonsense dutifully follows the party marching orders. She writes:

Diane BlackAs if we needed more proof that the IRS does not have its house in order, an Inspector General’s report released just last Wednesday found that nearly 1,600 IRS employees willfully evaded their own tax payments over a ten year window. Worse, of those employees who knowingly violated tax law, over 60 percent retained their employment with the IRS and roughly 30 percent received awards and promotions.

To put it another way, the very agency tasked with making sure you comply with our tax laws is knowingly keeping tax-cheats on the payroll – and you’re shelling out for their salaries. This is another example of the Washington political class saying “do as I say, not as I do.” It is immoral, and we have a responsibility to stop it.

If Rep. Black wants to talk about “keeping one’s house in order”, I would point out that one of her own houses, the U.S. Congress, had delinquent taxes of 8.5 million as of 2014. The website Don’t Mess With Taxes reported:

Dollar sign magnifiedAlmost 5 percent of all House employees, including Representatives, have unpaid tax bills. That legislative chamber’s 4.87 percent delinquency rate [is] slightly four times higher than that of the Treasury Department.
In dollars, the 486 tax-owing House employees, out of 9,979 total, account for about $5.8 million due Uncle Sam.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Senators and their staff have a 3.2 percent delinquency rate, with 228 of 7,030 employees in that chamber owing $2.7 million in taxes.

USA Today points out:

… federal workers are better at paying their taxes than the average taxpayer. Their delinquency rate of 3.19% is far lower than the 8.7% for the population at large.

[and] Tax delinquencies on Capitol Hill are four times more common than at the Treasury Department…

Tax delinquencies will only get worse in the future. When Republicans don’t like a particular government agency (and that would be all of them except the Defense Department), they take a budget cleaver to them until they become inefficient, then point to the inefficiency as a reason to dismantle them. Such is the case with the IRS, as the L.A. Times reported:

Republican lawmakers have managed to slash the tax agency’s budget by more than $1 billion over the last five years and eliminate about 13,000 jobs.

(…)

Ordinary taxpayers have the bulk of their income reported by employers, and most taxes are automatically withheld. But businesses self-report much of their performance, just as wealthier taxpayers are supposed to come clean on capital gains.

…cutbacks … could mean that about $2 billion in tax revenue will go uncollected.

And that will not be the average Joe cheating on his taxes, it will be the 1%. In fact, if Rep. Black really wants to go after tax cheats, how about the untaxed $2.1 trillion parked overseas by wealthy folks and corporations. Oh wait, I forgot, some folks in Congress want to give them another “repatriation holiday” to bring that money back.

Yes, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) want to give our corporate blackmailers a 6.5 percent tax rate to bring their money back, with the revenue earmarked for the Highway Trust Fund. Americans for Tax Reform explains why that’s a foolish idea:

bloomberg coverAmerican taxpayers and Main Street businesses should not have to pick up the tab for the taxes owed by some of America’s richest companies – such as Apple, General Electric, Microsoft, Pfizer, Merck, IBM – that have the most untaxed profits sitting offshore. And our tax system should not be encouraging corporations to shift jobs or profits offshore, as this proposal would do. Untaxed offshore corporate profits have grown by 250 percent since the 2004 repatriation holiday in anticipation of this legislation.

It is not clear how this plan raises revenue to rebuild our infrastructure. A repatriation tax holiday at a 5.25 percent tax rate will raise $20 billion in the first two years but lose nearly $100 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

“Numerous studies have harshly criticized the 2004 repatriation tax holiday. It gave huge tax breaks to the worst tax dodgers – those companies that stash the most profits in offshore tax havens. It did not increase U.S. jobs and economic growth. Instead, it cost jobs and gave a windfall to wealthy shareholders and bigger bonuses to corporate executives. The measure is not even necessary, as most untaxed offshore corporate profits are actually invested in U.S. financial assets and institutions.

Bastiat quote

They cite these nine findings from the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report: Repatriating Offshore Funds: 2004 Tax Windfall for Select Multinationals:

1. U.S. Jobs Lost Rather Than Gained.

2. Research and Development Expenditures Did Not Accelerate.

3. Stock Repurchases Increased After Repatriation.

4. Executive Compensation Increased After Repatriation.

5. Only a Narrow Sector of Multinationals Benefited.

6. Most Repatriated Funds Flowed from Tax Havens.

7. Offshore Funds Increased After 2004 Repatriation.

8. More than $2 Trillion in Cash Assets Now Held by U.S. Corporations.

9. Repatriation is a Failed Tax Policy. The 2004 repatriation cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated net revenue loss of $3.3 billion over ten years, produced no appreciable increase in U.S. jobs or research investments, and led to U.S. corporations directing more funds offshore.

What I find most egregious about Rep. Black’s zeroing in on IRS workers is the fact that their average starting salary is $27,431. , or a little over $500. a week. That’s less than the average income in her own state of Tennessee, which still ranks 45 out of 50, far less than the $174,000. she earns as a member of Congress, and a pittance of Mrs. Black’s 2013 reported net worth of $147 million.

Should IRS employees be held accountable for delinquent taxes, of course they should; they can get in line right behind the Microsofts, Romneys, and politicians in the country.