The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the conservative think thank that FOIA'd labor studies professors in Michigan this week, has called in the FBI after receiving threatening voicemails that included a bomb threat. My report here.[...]
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The anti-Muslim hate industry in the US poisons more than just those who hear their venom. When those infected with it join the military and are posted to an Islamic country, all hell breaks loose. For a description of that hell, let me direct your[...]
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Rep. Eric Cantor finally said what was really on his mind to a Conservative Think Tank (Hoover Institute) about Social Security and America.
Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said out loud what he really thinks: He believes Social Security "cannot exist." At all. For anyone.
This week NPR played Cantor?s remarks to the conservative Hoover Institution: He declared: "So we've got to protect today's seniors. But for the rest of us? For - you know, listen. We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."
These guys say things like this at right-wing think tanks, expecting that the folks back home won?t hear them. We want to make sure every person in Rep. Cantor's congressional district hears those words straight from his mouth.
The Campaign for America's Future isn't letting Rep. Cantor get away with it. We have a TV ad that will let his constituents know about his extreme opposition to Social Security. But we need your help to get it on the air. The more you can donate, the more we can get his constituents to see the ad and the more we can spread the truth, and put him on the hot seat. Click here to help us keep this ad on the air
What does Cantor mean when he says, " if we want America to be what we want America to be."
Why does Eric Cantor and Conservatives in think tank's like the Hoover hate working class Americans and seniors so much so that they would destroy Social Security? They are smart enough to know that cutting it now would destroy their election chances in 2012, so they make these sweeping unfactual statements about the future of Social Security. Here's the link to the NPR news report.
Rep. CANTOR: I mean, just from the very notion that it said that 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those moneys as their sole source of income. So we've got to protect today's seniors. But for the rest of us? For - you know, listen. We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.
CORNISH: Cantor says Republicans will unveil their plans for the 2012 budget soon, which will include entitlement program reforms. They're keeping the details quiet for now. But it's clear the GOP will have to make the first move, since the president didn't include changes to entitlements in his budget proposals, and Democrats are on the defense. That's no easy task, considering the unveiling will likely collide with the ongoing debates over the debt ceiling, the current budget, and the threat of a government shutdown
Please pass this Eric Cantor video around.
There are people in the world who only have one leg. One of the largest impediments to their walking normally is their fear that if they use a prosthesis then they will become dependent upon it, like other people become dependent upon alcohol, heroine and crack.
The above assertion is nonsense. I've never heard anyone say that they are uncomfortable being dependent on a functional prosthesis. There is no shame in having only one leg, if you have the mental acuity to realize that a prosthesis can take the place of the missing leg and let you walk normally.
When it comes to medications for conditions like chronic major depression and bipolar disorder, however, people believe that medications that address these mental illness are drugs on which they will become dependent. If being dependent on a prosthesis is an acceptable way to be mobile and even win a running race, then why is being dependent on a medication viewed so radically differently?
Like someone with a leg prosthesis, I am dependent on the anti-depressant medication (Zoloft) and the sleep aid (diazepam) that I take. If I don't take the sleep aid, then I will go days without significant sleep and, on the way, I will become obsessed with ways to kill myself so that my anguish will go away. Should I throw my prosthetic leg in the trash to prove to myself and others that I am not different from other people in any way?
Anyone who has taken heroine (I haven't) or crack (I haven't) or speed (I haven't) is a person who knows that the compulsion to take the drug is heightened by the fact that the drug has immediate and highly perceptible biochemical effects on the brain that cause a "high." The high feels good, at least initially, and so they immediately want more of the drug (be it alcohol or heroine or crack) so they can feel that immediate rush that the drugs can provide.
For anyone who hasn't tried anti-depressants, I can explain to you the fundamental difference between drugs that cause dependency and drugs that are psychoactive (act on the brain) prostheses. First of all, anti-depressants typically have no effect on depression until the patient has taken the drug dutifully for two weeks to a month. Anyone who was looking for a high and tried taking an antidepressant for an immediate effect is a person who would immediately abandon anti-depressants because they don't have any perceptible immediate effect. The level of the drug in the blood simply rises very slowly and taking more of the drug won't change that.
It's true that after using an anti-depressant for a few months and eventually feeling better, getting off the drug will eventually lead the person to feel just as bad as they did when they began taking the drug, particularly if their depression comes from inside, rather than as a result of outside circumstances, like the death of an important person or losing one's job. Some of us will only need an anti-depressant until we work through the depressing fact of having lost a relationship or a job. Others of us (like me), will ALWAYS need the anti-depressant, just as a person with a prosthetic leg will never get "well" again and walk and run normally on only one leg.
If you take an anti-depressant because you've become aware that you are depressed, you would be well-warned to learn that the drug, even when taken diligently, may not have any noticeable effect for two weeks to a month. How, I ask, can anyone become "addicted" to a drug that works so frustratingly slowly? Someone who wants to get high and forget their problems would immediately throw anti-depressants in the trash.
However, if the anti-depressant works then the logical patient will eventually learn that not taking the medication to avoid dependency is like waiting for the day when you can leave your prosthetic leg at home, because you have become "normal" again. If your leg grows back, and you no longer need a prosthesis, please send me an e-mail and I will stop using this analogy.
It's true that a an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drug like diazepam (Valium) works much more quickly. It causes one to feel the need to sleep. It can also cause one (me, at least) to feel less bad about circumstances (e.g. clinical depression) that normally cause intense anxiety.
It could theoretically be used instead of addressing the roots of one's depression, sadness or anger. However, unlike heroin and crack, using more Valium does not bring a greater effect. If you've taken it at noon, taking more at four in the afternoon instead of waiting until midnight will not make a person more happy, more sad, more ebullience or more communicative. It's a waste of time and money to take more than the prescribed amount. It does not relieve depression, but it makes one react dysfunctionally to depression more slowly.
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The GOP isn't just indifferent to poor, elderly, and disabled Americans, they actively want them to suffer. What else is there to conclude?
The assault on Medicaid is about to begin. GOP sources have told Politico's Jonathan Allen that House Republicans will propose $1 trillion in cuts from the program. Exactly what form those cuts will take is not entirely clear. But a trillion dollars over ten years is serious money and Capitol Hill sources are saying it will likely come from two dramatic changes: Eliminating the Medicaid expansion that takes place under the Affordable Care Act and then converting the entire program into a system of block grants....
[R]olling back the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion would mean taking health insurance away from about 15 million people. That's the official, Congressional Budget Office projection of how many people will get coverage under Medicaid once the Act is fully in place.
As for turning Medicaid into a block grant, here's a quick refresher on what that entails. Right now, Medicaid is an entitlement program. That means the federal government, in partnership with the states, must enroll everybody who meets the program's guidelines. In other words, if millions of additional people become eligible because, say, they lost their job-based insurance in the recession, than the feds and the states have to provide them with coverage and find some way to pay for it. And it can't be spotty coverage, either. By law, Medicaid coverage must be comprehensive.
At least, that's the way it works now. If the law changes and Medicaid becomes a block grant, then every year the federal government would simply give the states a lump sum, set by a fixed formula, and let the states make the most of it.
The GOP likes to trumpet block grant programs as providing maximum flexibility for states. What this would actually do is take away states' ability to provide healthcare in economic downturns, like the one we're still in the middle of. Republican governors would be fine with that, they'd take the flexibility and make out like bandits, just as Rick Scott is doing in Florida. Who will hurt the most are the primary beneficiaries of the program, the elderly and the disabled, including millions of children.
A key element of what the GOP is doing is pure politics?starving every part of the Affordable Care Act that they can out of vengeance and ongoing pique that the law passed. The fact that they're tantrum could make millions suffer is just gravy, I guess.
Some have suggested that in light of the new developments we should abandon nuclear power. I have a different proposal, perhaps more in keeping with the peculiar nature of the peril. Let us pause and study the matter. For how long? Plutonium, a component of nuclear waste, has a half-life of 24,000 years, meaning that half of it is transformed into other elements through radioactive decay. This suggests a time scale. We will not be precipitous if we study the matter for only half of that half-life, 12,000 years. In the interval, we can make a search for safe new energy sources, among other useful endeavors. Then perhaps we'll be wise enough to make good use of the split atom.
NEWS ALERT FROM THE VERMONT WORKERS' CENTER - HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT CAMPAIGN
Public Senate Hearing Shows Overwhelming Support For Universal Healthcare
Montpelier, VT -- Statehouse -- Vermonters from all over the state turned out for a major public hearing on Vermont's new universal healthcare bill, H.202. The Vermont Senate Health & Welfare Committee held the hearing on the bill in the main chamber of the Statehouse one week after H.202 passed in the Vermont House of Representatives by a 92 - 49 vote. Over fifty Vermonters testified overwhelmingly in support of the bill and demanded bold action to begin treating healthcare as a human right, provided as a public good.
Peg Franzen, President of the Vermont Workers' Center, testified at the event saying:
"As we go down this road, we must be guided by the plight of Vermonters who pay for the failures of this market-based system with their health - their physical and financial health. Human rights principles offer that guidance, and they are included in this bill as the foundation of our new healthcare system. Human rights principles will enable us to ensure that each step we take towards a new system is a step in the right direction, the direction of a universal, equitable healthcare system that works for all of us."
Donald Trump: Democratic plant? Joe Biden: Master negotiator? Obama's CIA: Doing its job? Traci Olsen's "Stabby Five": More frothy or peanutty?
Or you can simply listen below.
Could anyone see this coming ten years ago or even one year ago? Al Jazeera:
Protest marches against Baath Party rule broke out in cities in the north and south after Friday prayers, including in the flashpoint city of Daraa.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in and around the capital, Damascus, in the afternoon as security forces and ruling party loyalists attacked protesters with batons in Rifaii mosque in the city.
Syrian forces reportedly fired tear gas at protesters in the suburb of Douma, and in the coastal cities of Latakia and Banias.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Damascus, said at least four people were killed in the afternoon after government forces started using live fire against protesters in Douma.
I can't be sure, but this may be one of the signs of the Apocalypse. No, I don't mean Snooki getting paid (more than Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison!) to speak at Rutgers University. But something just as alarming:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, even more than Mitt Romney who raised $1.9 million over the same period, Fox News reports.
This is NOT an April Fools joke.
A few caveats to temper the desire to tear one's hair out. Neither Romney nor Bachmann has declared a formal candidacy. And it's very early in the game...you need only look at 2007, when the presumed match up for the presidential election would be Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani. There's no way to know where either of these two end up by summer of 2012.
However, it should be absolutely clear that the tendency not to take Bachmann's aspirations seriously needs to end now. There are enough people supporting her campaign with donations that it is very serious indeed.