American Family Association director and legitimate crazy person Bryan Fischer, who despite being absolutely batshit crazy still has the Mitt Romney campaign eating out of the palm of his hand, says?tell you what, let's just go to the tape for this one.
"... so virtually nobody other than the Family Research Council and yours truly?even Rush apparently now is out saying he's gotta step aside, so everybody is gang tackling Todd Akin. Now you talk about a forcible situation, you talk about somebody being a victim of kind of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin."And with that suggestion that Todd Akin is the one being gang-raped, here, the cycle of victimhood is complete. Have we heard from every batshit crazy Republican crackpot yet? It feels like we're still missing some, but I'm sure they'll pipe up soon enough.
Here's one more thing that gets obliterated by the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan plan to get rid of the Affordable Care Act: huge savings on prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries who had been in the "donut hole."
Nearly 5.4 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved more than $4.1 billion on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. Seniors in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the ?donut hole? have saved an average of $768. During the first seven months of 2012, the new health care law has helped nearly 18 million people with original Medicare get at least one preventive service at no cost to them.Say goodbye to all that under the Romney/Ryan, and sooner rather than later. While they keep insisting that current beneficiaries won't be subject to cuts, they absolutely will. They'll lose free preventive care and all of those who had the donut hole closed on their drug purchases will see it open right back up.
"The health care law has saved people with Medicare over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, and given millions of beneficiaries access to cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services for free," said Secretary Sebelius. "Medicare is stronger thanks to the health care law, saving people money and offering new benefits at no cost to seniors."
Those are the cuts that are guaranteed to happen under Romney and Ryan. Then there are the cuts that the Romney camp has had to admit they'll have to enact to keep Medicare solvent beyond 2016?cuts that will definitely hit current beneficiaries. All the better for them, though. Weakening the program, undercutting its popularity, is key to their ultimate goal: getting rid of Medicare all together.
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In a campaign speech that appeared to be a throwback to the 2008 presidential election, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that he was "happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion," and even gave a shout out to "Joe the Plumber."
Ryan told supporters in Carnegie, Pennsylvania that "every now and then President [Barack] Obama sort of drops his veil."
"Remember back in 2008, remember the guy 'Joe the Plumber,' remember when [Obama] said, we want to spread the wealth around?" the Wisconsin congressman recalled, referring to Samuel Wurzelbacher, who was made into a conservative celebrity by GOP candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin. "It's this belief that the economy is some fixed pie, that there's only so much money in America -- it's fixed -- and that the job of the government is to redistribute the slices of the pie. That's not true."
"Remember this other time, where [Obama] was caught on video saying, people like to cling to their guns and their religion?" Ryan continued. "Hey, I'm a Catholic deer hunter! I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."
"The idea of America is essentially this: Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government."
Ryan's remarks about guns and religion seemed to echo a 2008 campaign speech where Palin attacked Obama over the suggestion that economic conditions cause people to become "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion."
"And there must be something about San Francisco and [Obama]," Palin told a crowd in Ohio. "Because it?s like I heard on Fox News today, it?s like a truth serum, where when he?s there he seems to be more candid. Remember it was there that he talking about, there you go, the bitter clingers. The cling-ons, all of us, I guess, hanging on to religion and guns."
Ryan's focus on social issues comes at a time when he is taking heat for his connections to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who recently apologized for the suggestion that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate" rape. Both men had co-sponsored a bill that critics say would have redefined rape by allowing only victims of so-called ?forcible rape? to qualify for federally funded abortions.
The Secretary of State, Jon Husted, first tried to mandate that Republican counties would have extended early voting hours, while Democratic counties would see their early voting hours reduced. That generated too much controversy, so he shifted back to a[...]
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Republicans desperately want Todd Akin to pull an Ayn Rand, go Galt, and drop out of the Missouri Senate race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already released a statement threatening to withdraw financial support ?if he continues with this misguided campaign.? Mitt Romney, demonstrating his characteristic political courage by echoing every other person in the Republican Party, has called for Akin to leave the race. Despite this, Akin says he's staying in.
If he loses, and Claire McCaskill wins another term, he could cost Republicans control ofthe Senate. But that?s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the damage Akin could do to the GOP this fall. Remember, Akin first entered the national spotlight at the beginningof this year, when he worked with Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to redefine rape and limit the extent to which Medicaid could cover abortion services. The effort failed, but it introduced ?forcible rape? to the political lexicon. With the economy as the foremost issue in voter?s minds, Ryan has been able to escape scrutiny for that episode in national politics. But the combination of Akin?s statement and the GOP?s platform?which calls for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion?have brought social issues back into thespotlight.
It?s hard to overstate how dangerous this is for Mitt Romney. If Democrats can tie Ryan to Akin, and make this election about whether the country wants to go backward on women?s rights, then Romney will have a hard breaking the threshold for victory. The good news is that, with the convention ahead, Romney has an opportunity to change the subject. Thebad news is that Akin isn?t going away?along with Romney?s tax returns and Bain Capital, he is almost certain to dog Romney and Ryan from now until November.
"The other day, a British friend asked me if there was anything about the United States I disliked. I was happily on vacation and couldn?t think of anything. But now I remember. I really can?t stand America?s liberal bloggers."
?Niall Ferguson, who, in the wake of the backlash against his Newsweek cover story, has found something he dislikes more than Obama's economic record.
Todd Akin's verbal eruption on Sunday hasn't put much of a dent in the Missouri Senate race polls yet?according to Public Policy Polling, Akin still holds a one point lead over incumbent Claire McCaskill, leaving the race in the same place it's been since May.
For more polling information, go to the Prospect?s 2012 election map.Mitt RomneyThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsLatter Day Saint movementPolitics of the United StatesClaire McCaskillMitt Romney presidential campaignPolitical positions of Mitt RomneyPoliticsSocial Issues
Benjamin Smith, a spokesman for Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc. -- the group attacking President Barack Obama for taking credit for the operation that killed Osama bin Laden -- has called Obama "Commander-in-Chief Hussein Mao-bama" and has questioned whether he is a Muslim or a citizen of the U.S.
Smith has also posted articles suggesting that the late conservative media provocateur Andrew Breitbart was murdered and posted his support for Republican congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who was accused in a double murder as a Marine in Iraq.
OPSEC's extensive ties to the Republican party had already been well documented, but an anonymous webpage has been collecting highlights from Smith's Facebook page that show the former Navy SEAL expressing some controversial opinions.
Smith, who did not respond to Foreign Policy's request for comment, also wrote after Obama's 2012 State of the Union address that Obama must have used "some bad tan lotion because he looked like an old bruised Banana which made me think that Harry Belafonte was walking out to give his rendition of 'Day-O' before 'ole' suck and blow' was to come out and enlighten us with his blasphemous spew."
Obama himself doesn't seem too worried about the group, telling a Virginia newspaper reporter this week that he doesn't take OPSEC too seriously.
"One of their members is a birther who denies I was born here, despite evidence to the contrary," Obama told the Virginia-Pilot. "You've got another who was a tea party candidate in a recent election. This kind of stuff springs up before election time."
The OPSEC ad is embedded below:
A century ago, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass a minimum wage law. Now, the state legislature is considering legislation to increase its minimum wage — currently at $8.00 an hour, $0.75 above the federal minimum — to $10.00 an hour. If the legislation becomes law, it will give more than a half-million low-wage workers a pay increase and could generate 4,500 new jobs because of increased economic activity, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute:
Increasing Massachusetts?s minimum wage to $10.00 on January 1, 2013, would give a raise to more than 581,000 of the state?s lowest-paid workers. It would provide nearly $824 million in additional wages to directly and indirectly affected families, who would, in turn, spend those extra earnings. Indirectly affected workers?those earning close to, but still above, the proposed new minimum wage?would likely receive a boost in earnings due to the ?spillover? effect (Shierholz 2009), giving them more to spend on necessities. [...]
Using these same standard fiscal multipliers to analyze the jobs impact of an increase in compensation of low-wage workers and decrease in corporate profits that result from a minimum-wage increase, we find that increasing the Massachusetts minimum wage from $8.00 to $10.00 per hour would result in a net increase in economic activity of approximately $522 million and would generate roughly 4,500 net new jobs.
Though Republican lawmakers across the country consistently oppose minimum wage increases on grounds that they hurt job growth, small businesses, and overall economic growth, multiple studies, including EPI’s, contradict those claims. An analysis by the Center for American Progress found that “a significant body of academic research has found that raising the minimum wage does not result in job losses even during hard economic times.”
At the beginning of 2012, scheduled minimum wage increases were set to benefit 1.4 million workers, and such policies tend to benefit women and minorities, workers who typically face pay gaps and other disadvantages in the workplace.
According to a government report about the well-being of older Americans, today’s 65-year-olds can expect to live longer — to age 85, compared to 79 in 1980 — and healthier than previous generations. Deaths from heart disease and stroke have dropped almost 50 percent, which has helped to increase the average life expectancy for Americans. But a dozen developed nations had longer life expectancies than America’s. Even though the U.S. and Japan had about equal life expectancies 30 years ago, Japanese citizens live about four years longer — to 89 — on average than Americans.
io9 has the story of Weird Tales, the venerable science fiction magazine that committed to run an excerpt of a novel called Saving the Pearls, in which people of color tyrannically oppress white people, who are considered ugly and genetically disadvantaged because ozone layer damage makes them much more susceptible to UV rays, apparently in part because the author, Victoria Foyt, told the editors the people who were criticizing her were just haters. In the statement from the Weird Tales publisher, he says:
Marvin was approached by Victoria Foyt, and was asked to review her novel. He was told that she was being slammed online by people who had not read it. I have not read the novel, but have gone over its online presence today. I have no need to read it. I saw the blackface video and read the excerpts the author and publisher chose to make available. I must conclude that the use of the powerful symbols of white people forced to wear blackface to escape the sun, white women lusting after black “beast men,” the “pearls” and “coals,” etc., is goddamned ridiculous and offensive. It seems like the work of someone who does not understand the power of what she is playing with.
In a way, this reminds me of the controversy over TLC’s great reality show All-American Muslim, when advertisers including Lowe’s and Kayak pulled out of the show after a fringe Florida group that purports to represent many more people than it actually does, told them that the show in some way was a contravention of their values. Both cases are a reminder that when someone is really eager to discredit a controversy, or to tell you that something that seems utterly anodyne is secretly nefarious, it’s probably worth going to the source material, or whatever of the source material is available, and making your own independent judgement.
By Jessica Goad
F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, ?Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.? A story in yesterday?s Denver Post about fossil fuel magnate William (Bill) Koch?s construction of a private old western town in Colorado provides yet another example of this truism.
Koch has built for himself:
? an unpopulated, faux Western town that might boggle the mind of anyone who ever had a playhouse. Its full-size buildings come with polished brass and carved-mahogany details and are fronted with board sidewalks and underpinned by a water-treatment system. A locked gate with guards screens who comes and goes….
Koch’s project manager has told county officials that the enclave in the middle of the 6,400-acre Bear Ranch won’t ever be open to the public. It is simply for Koch’s amusement and for that of his family and friends.
Koch is building the town on his ranch in Gunnison County, Colorado. But he has proposed highly controversial land exchanges that would swap tracts of public lands for areas that he has the rights to in order to expand his ranch and provide more privacy for the old western town.
The ?Central Rockies Land Exchange? would give Koch control of 1,800 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in exchange for various other parcels that he owns in Colorado. Local opponents say that the land exchange will deny access to public lands where they hunt and hike. Koch has hired a public relations firm to sell local residents on the idea.
Bill Koch is brother to David and Charles Koch, conservative heavy hitters who are virulently anti-climate science and have bankrolled right-wing groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation.
While Bill Koch maintains some distance from the political zeal of his brothers, he has given at least $2 million to Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super-PAC. He is also the founder and CEO of the Oxbow Corporation, which has interests in various energy ventures including coal, natural gas, and petroleum coke. Forbes has listed his value at $4 billion.
Koch?s western town that will be entirely for his own benefit brings into relief the remarkable contrast between public and private lands and the value of places that belong to all Americans, not just the wealthy few.
Koch isn?t the only one who is interested in privatizing our public lands. Indeed, Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Congressman Paul Ryan?s (R-WI) budget contains a provision to sell millions of acres of public lands to the highest bidder. The language is largely based on Rep. Jason Chaffetz?s (R-UT) bill that would get rid of three million acres of public lands without clarifying how taxpayers would receive a fair return for them. And Florida Representative Cliff Stearns (R), who just lost his primary election, called for selling off national parks last March.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.