The above graphic is from a poll result via ABC/WashPost that appeared on Meet The Press -- and it's one that Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP, Gang of Six and President Obama should really take to heart.
The poll, conducted for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that 65 percent of Americans oppose changing Medicare to a system in which the government would give seniors vouchers with which to buy private insurance. Opposition was essentially the same in a Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health survey when the idea came up 15 years ago.
The language may matter, in that even most Republicans, 56 percent, oppose Medicare vouchers, as do more than seven in 10 Democrats. And opposition soars to 84 percent of all Americans, including nearly three-quarters of Republicans, if government payments failed to meet the full cost of seniors' insurance coverage.
But 78 percent in this survey oppose cuts in Medicare in order to address the federal debt (indeed 65 percent "strongly" oppose it); 69 percent oppose cuts in Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor (52 percent strongly); and fewer, but still 56 percent, oppose cutting military spending. Far more popular is taxing people perceived as being most able to pay: Seventy-two percent support achieving debt-reduction by raising taxes on people with household incomes more than $250,000 a year. That again counters the GOP position, and works for Obama, who last week ruled out another extension of tax cuts for better-off Americans
The Beltway media keep hammering the public with cries of "shared sacrifice" and "adult conversations" and the need to cut our safety-net programs, but ordinary Americans do not agree.
And a fine thing is beginning to happen. Rep. Paul Ryan is turning into The Solitary Man:
And he is looking increasingly solitary. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said he was ?not wedded? to the Ryan budget that his caucus passed with near unanimity. On Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) described the Ryan budget that she voted for as an ?aspirational document.?
"What I'm saying with that vote is that we have to make decision, we're not saying every single decision in that bill ? that aspirational document ? will be the final result. What we are saying is that we have a conviction," Bachmann said on "Fox News Sunday."
When Michele Bachmann thinks Ryan's plan is only "aspirational", well, as a wingnut, you got problems.
Peter J. LaBarbera
Americans for Truth
Dear Mr. LaBarbera,
A new plague is harvesting the souls of our Heartland's children. Minds warped by the devil's bath salts, our future deacons, pastors, and derivative traders are committing the most heinous of perversions--acts so twisted and sick, I'm hesitant to relate them here. But relate them, I must. It's the only way to communicate the horrific magnitude of the plague that confronts us.
Here's a tale out of West Virginia:
Mark L. Thompson, 19, was arrested after witnesses stated that they came into his home and found him wearing a bra and female underwear and covered in blood. At this feet was the dead pygmy goat of his neighbor. Thompson told an officer named Cpl. Snuffer that he was high on ?bath salts? and ?wasn?t in his right mind.?Can you imagine anyone engaging in such a sick act of utter perversion? I mean, my gosh, HE WAS WEARING A LADY'S BRA AND PANTIES. Those bath salts turned him into a full blown homosexualist.
Police found a pink leash around the neck of the goat and a pornographic magazine photo lying a few feet away.
Nancy Pelosi in Afghanistan
On a conference call today with progressive new media types, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi indicated that, for the first time, she believes the United States military is prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan.
During the call, I asked Leader Pelosi "do you think the killing of Osama bin Laden will increase support in the House of Representatives for a more rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan?" While she said that she did not know the answer to that question at this time, she did relay some important information about a recent trip she took to Afghanistan.
On that trip, which took place over St. Patrick's Day weekend, Pelosi said "I was very impressed for the first time with the intention to leave." She indicated that in all conversations she had during her trip, from the highest echelons of the military and diplomatic corps to the rank and file soldiers in the field, "everything was about preparations to leave."
Pelosi added that "we will be on the President's timetable to begin the withdrawal of troops and go from there." This latter remark echoes what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters earlier in the week, that the killing of bin Laden will not result in an accelerated withdrawal timeline.
This should come as reassuring news to those of you who, like me, wish to see a military withdrawal from Afghanistan. It should not, however, come as reassuring news to those of you who, like me, had hoped that bin Laden's killing would result in an acceleration of the withdrawal timeline. Currently, withdrawal is set to begin in July, but Afghanistan security forces will not take over complete control until the end of 2014. Even after that date, it is possible that a substantial American military presence could remain stationed in Afghanistan.
Personally, I still expect popular support for withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is already on the rise, to increase further in the wake of bin Laden's demise. This is because Americans are more open to military withdrawal from a country if they believe conditions are improving in that country. For example, back during the peak of the debate over withdrawal from Iraq, more Americans supported withdrawal if they were told conditions in the country were improving than if conditions were getting worse. If that same mindset influences popular thinking on Afghanistan, it could well mean increased support for withdrawal from here on out.
When everyone across the political spectrum is this cynical about our politicians, the problem probably isn't just our current batch of elected officials, but that design of the system itself.[...]
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Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River. It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts[...]
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Show the picture Mr. President! A-merry-cans, as you can see, can take it. That's a pic of Emmett Till in the left hand corner of this post. His picture was featured in a prominent A-merry-can magazine soon after he was killed, and the republic survived. A-merry-cans have strong stomachs when it comes to this stuff. Just look at all those people having j a jolly good time while they watched those "strange fruits" hanging from trees. Don't tell me they can't look at a pic of OBL with a hole in his head. Besides, do you really want to give wingnuts another reason to cry conspiracy?
Wingnuts and radical Islamist now have something in common: they both believe that O and his people are hiding something. Why did they bury Osama at sea? Why so fast? Why don't they just show the pictures? Are they doctoring them?
Over at Radio Rwanda it's all they talk about; those OBL photos. Wingnuts are giving us their opinions about why the photos should be released. Make no mistake, the reason that some people want these photos released is because a certain beige man said that he will not do it right now. "We don't need to spike the football". Great!
Well then when can we celebrate Mr. President? I know that your CIA director said that they would be released eventually, but that might be too far down the line. You know that A-merry-cans have short attention spans. We might forget who the damn guy is by the time the photos are released.
"given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk....
...We discussed this internally...Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.'
When Kroft noted that there are people in Pakistan and elsewhere who believe bin Laden is still alive, the president said 'we we monitoring worldwide reaction.'
'There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead,' he said. 'Certainly there is no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. So we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.'
'There are going to be some folks who deny it, he' added. 'The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."'
Hmmm, that's what we said about Elvis and Tupac, and look where that got us.
This sure sounds pretty sleazy, in addition to being illegal. And, it's your tax dollars at work:
The U.S. Justice Department, 11 states and the District of Columbia are backing an employee whistleblower lawsuit against Education Management Corp. (EDMC), a company once run by former Maine Governor John McKernan. McKernan continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He also is the husband of Senator Olympia Snowe (R - Maine).If this proves to be true, I sure hope DOJ is going to get the money back -- even if that means suing McKernan and his wife for all of their assets. Instead, he'll probably get a pardon.
The complaint alleges that the for-profit college chain was illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students they could sign up. EDMC allegedly based recruiter salaries on their sales abilities and also gave recruiters prizes, including expensive trips, based on their ability to bring students in. Federal law bans for-profit colleges that accept federal aid from compensating employees based on their ability to recruit students. Harry Litman, an attorney for the two former employees who are serving as whistleblowers in this case, said EDMC's violations were obvious.
"It did it flagrantly," Litman said. "It did it for many years. It lied to the federal government about it. And [employee incentives] fueled their explosive growth to $2.5 billion a year, almost all of which is taxpayer money."
Idiotman could probably explain all about what the
deal is in Afghanistan. Or maybe help us just not care.
"In other post-bin Laden news, the White House said that they were 'no longer concerned' about the American people being grossed out by images of Osama bin Laden: 'After all, they've been looking at Trump for weeks.'"
-- The Borowitz Report
Am I the only who's finding that the more that details of Seal Team Six's recent visit to Abbottabad is clarified (see, for example, "White House Corrects Big Laden Narrative"" -- oh darn, did I unthinkingly waste another of my free NYT hits on this?), the more confused I am? You understand how in the heat of the moment the initial reports can contain some incomplete or even incorrect reporting, but you also wonder how it is, given the apparent level of secrecy involved in the raid, how so much now apparent arrant nonsense was passed on. Is it any wonder I turn to Andy Borowitz for my, er, facts?
New Petition Favors Replacing Congress with SEAL Team Six
Elite Unit Gets Post-bin Laden Bounce
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) ? In a startling measurement of public opinion since the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden, Americans in record numbers are signing a petition to replace Congress with SEAL Team Six, the elite unit that took out the al-Qaeda madman.
The petition echoes the results of a new poll by the University of Minnesota?s Opinion Research Institute, in which the Navy SEALS trounce Congress by a lopsided 97% to 2% margin, with the remaining 1% answering, "Superman."
Professor Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota said that the numbers behind the numbers were even more striking: "By a wide margin, Americans favor SEAL Team Six landing on the Capitol building with helicopters and taking out Congress by force."
Added Professor Logsdon, "There's a broad consensus out there that the Navy SEALs get things done, and that they would make C-Span more fun to watch."
News of the petition and the survey caught the attention of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who issued a strongly worded denial of rumors that SEAL Team Six were practicing maneuvers on a life-size replica of the Capitol building constructed inside an abandoned Linen 'n' Things in suburban Virginia.
In other post-bin Laden news, the White House said that they were "no longer concerned" about the American people being grossed out by images of Osama bin Laden: "After all, they've been looking at Trump for weeks."
Elsewhere, in reporting on Bin Laden?s death, Fox News apologized for mispronouncing Barack Obama?s name as ?George W. Bush.?
The number of Americans who see success ahead in Afghanistan has spiked higher as a result of the death of Osama bin Laden, but few see it as the end to the terrorism threat facing the United States, according to a new poll by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.
Nearly seven in 10 see the U.S.?s killing of bin Laden as a boost to the long-term security of the country, but barely one in five see it as a big help. Just 5 percent see Osama?s death as meaning the end to the terrorism threat in general; 85 percent see further military actions as necessary.
At the same time, there?s been a large increase in the number seeing success for the U.S. in achieving its goals in Afghanistan. In the new poll, 64 percent expect success, up from 49 percent in a December poll. But this shift ? corresponding with the President Obama's improved ratings on handling the situation in Afghanistan ? has not led to a public reevaluation of the need for U.S. troops there. Some 48 percent of Americans say U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan ?as soon as possible,? virtually the same as the 50 percent who said so a month ago.
Boy, was I ready to kick in my TV when this aired. I -- and many of my fellow liberals -- furiously sent off angry emails and tweets to Dylan Ratigan for this fawning piece that ignored what a festering pustule on humanity that Breitbart truly is. James Rucker of Color of Change also found it reprehensible and led a campaign to make sure Dylan Ratigan understood how irresponsible it was to not provide context to let the average viewer know exactly how much credibility should be lent to Breitbart.
As you may know, ColorOfChange members led the charge to ensure that Breitbart's credibility and image weren't sanitized by ABC News or the Huffington Post. After we saw Breitbart on Ratigan's show, with Ratigan seemingly praising Breitbart as "smart" and a "sharp shooter who gets results," we were deeply concerned.
When I spoke with Ratigan, he explained what he was trying to do. He quickly agreed that Breitbart was a race-baiter, dishonest, and undeserving of credibility -- without question. And he frankly hadn't thought about the legitimizing effect that having Breitbart on his show -- without clearly labeling him as the race-baiter and deceiver he is -- would have.
Ratigan's core issue is exposing the corruptive nature of corporate dollars in politics (which I, and many ColorOfChange members would agree is a critical and important endeavor). Ratigan's goal in interviewing Breitbart was to ask him why he chose targets like Sherrod or the NAACP, while Breitbart and the Tea Party activists he defends seems to agree that banks and corporations with undue influence over government are actually the ones destroying our country. It's an important criticism of Breitbart. Ratigan's goal was to keep the conversation there, and he believed that if he focused on Breitbart's penchant for race-baiting and deception, it would simply trigger Breitbart, and he'd end up in the same conversation others have where Breitbart goes on a rampage and the conversation goes nowhere.
Moving forward, Ratigan said that if he deals with Breitbart at all in the future, it will be with the explicit disclaimer that Breibart is someone who deceives and race-baits. Ratigan recognizes and respects the argument that there's a problem with giving Breitbart a mainstream platform, and he's committed to making sure that his show is not used to lend Breitbart the appearance of legitimacy and credibility.
Breitbart, not surprisingly, is completely unapologetic. Can't expect a racist to give up that white robe so quickly. However, I give Ratigan and his producers credit for being receptive to this at all...too often, these kinds of issues are raised by liberals and dismissed out of hand. I'd rather that MSNBC acknowledge that people like Breitbart (and network regular Pat Buchanan, come to that) really have no right to expect a national platform for their racism and hate. I doubt very much that Ratigan or the suits at MSNBC have any idea the message it sends to people of color. But I'll take this incremental step gladly and keep pushing for more.
Kudos to James Rucker and Color of Change.
Al Arabiya went forward with a fairly surprising claim that one of Osama bin Laden's daughters, age 12, saw her father captured by Navy SEAL commandos before being killed. Multiple news outlets have reported that the daughter saw bin Laden shot, but[...]
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