As you have no doubt heard by now The Conservative Republic of Brownbackistan, er, sorry, the deep red State of Kansas, last week fired the openng Salvos in what can only be described as "the War on the poor":
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2258 into law Thursday. The measure means Kansas families receiving government assistance will no longer be able to use those funds to visit swimming pools, see movies, go gambling or get tattoos on the state’s dime.
and in Missouri a bill is trying to ban food stamp recipients from buying "steak and seafood" with their food stamp benefits
Now the sort of law can be very difficult to oppose because it lumps in things many people would agree with (not using benefits at strip clubs, or to get tattoos) with much more subtle , and nasty restrictions that require you to really understand what ti is to be poor, to know why they are SO nasty. Eg restrictions on using benefits for "arcades" or "pools" means you can;t save up to give your kid the birthday party he really wants at Chuck-e-Cheese or Worlds of Fun- a tiny bright spot in the grim existence that growing up poor often is)
Similarly prohibitions on buying "seafood" with food stamps (meant to conjure visions of lobster-eating "welfare queens" living high on the hog) means that canned tuna, a high-quality low-cost protein, is suddenly denied to folks who really need it.
The problem is, these arguments are all about nuance and facts, and these laws are meant as a pure emotional appeal, to arouse middle class anger at "freeloaders" (to distract them from the REAL reason, they are so economically anxious, their own shrinking paychecks and share fo the national wealth).
But Just as this is a "stunt law" there IS a Stunt Clever democratic Lawmakers could stage to reframe the debate entirely:
If the Senate falls tomorrow, start practicing that phrase, because De Facto or De Jure That is what we are facing in the next Congress if it is GOP controlled according to the Washington Post:
Sen. Ted Cruz spent the final weekend of the midterms on the far edge of the country trying to help fellow Republican Dan Sullivan win a race the GOP is counting on in its effort to retake the Senate.
It’s a team-player role the tea party firebrand from Texas has filled a handful of times this fall — but one he plans to abandon if Republicans win control of both congressional chambers.... Cruz made it clear he would push hard for a Republican-led Senate to be as conservative and confrontational as the Republican-led House.
Doesn't That sound like a lovely thing? Just look at his plans
David Brat, the out of nowhere dark horse that took down Eric Cantor in the GOP primary in VA-7, but the Dark horse has deep ties to the "dark money" that is currently drowning the political system in this country.
In fact Brat's current Job is a direct gift from former BB&T CEO, and Ayn Rand Disciple John Allison, who , big shocker, now works for the Koch Brothers as head of the Cato Insitute::
According to The Street, during his time as CEO of BB&T, Allison regularly used the BB&T Charitable Foundation, “to provide grants to schools that agree to create courses on capitalism that feature the study of ‘Atlas Shrugged.’”
Meanwhile, according to New York Magazine, Allison gave $500,000 to Randolph-Macon College to hire Dave Brat, so that he too could teach the Ayn Rand libertarian philosophy as an economics professor.
And mind you that was $500,000 a YEAR for what amounts to a made up position gift wrapped for someone with a fairly pathetic CV:
Sometimes it seems like you can't catch a break as a Progressive. We get rid of Eric Cantor, but instead of doing a happy dance, we instead have to dread his seat being occupied by someone even more intransigent and obstructionist than he is, this tea party scion Dave Brat. But what to do? I mean VA-7 is gerrymandered to within an inch of its life to be a safe GOP seat, so the Republican primary is nearly the same thing as the general election. The key word here, however, is "nearly" as a wise politician once noted "even the safest candidate can lose if he is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy".
In the modern era, even that is nor necessary. One or two truly stupid public comments and the 24 hour cable news cycle can often do the trick. Look art Todd Akin or Christine O'Donnell orSharon Angle
And Friends, if there is one thing I am certain of in this world, it's that a Tea Party devotee l
Like brat has said some TRULY stupid and outrageous things in his life, and like The North, The Internet remembers. All we have to do is find it. But we've got to hurry as Brat know this too. Case in point: campaign manager's Facebook page was MUCH more in testing a few day ago
Certainly the litany of Scott Walker's sins is long and varied: Gross mismanagement, worst in the nation Job numbers, union-busting, billionaire toadying, and good old fashioned political corruption and criminal activity. But the fact is, anyone upset about these things is already voting against him, and many polls still have the race tied or ahead. So to win this thing, we need a wedge issue that peels off some of his support, particularly in his Northern WI base areas. Fortunately Scott Walker has just handed us just such a wedge on a sliver platter in his appointment of Dr. James Kroll as the State's "deer Czar". You see Dr. Kroll considers allowing hunters to hunt for free on state-managed game lands, "the last bastion of communism" and want to do away with it altogether.
Even if you think this issue doesn't matter because you've never shot an animal with anything other than a camera, if you want the Dems to win the recall election you need to spread this story as far and wide as possible. Because, trust me, there are people in WI for who this will REALLY matter, and they're precisely the people we need to reach. Let me explain:
There is a growing feel that winning the Michigan primary is a do or die moment for the Romney Campaign. Still, winning the primary should be a slam dunk for him, as he is all but a native son. His father was a popular governor of the state, not to mention the Chairman and CEO of American Motors. So it was just a little curious, that at a time when even Clint Eastwood has become a cheerleader for the American auto industry Romney would take the opposite tack and writean op-ed in the Detroit Free Press attacking the auto bailout and insisting things would be better had the government not intervened
That argument, silly as it was on its face just got a huge hole blown in it, especially for regular voter today whenGM announced it had made a $7.6 Billion dollar profit. , Not so much because a huge corporation made a lot of money but because:
General Motors has posted its most profitable year ever in 2011, coming a long way since being bailed out in 2008 and going bankrupt in 2009. And for once, reading a corporate profits report feels pretty good, with news that union members are getting a nice payday for their part in GM's good year.
America's largest car company earned $7.6 billion in 2011, a 62 percent increase from 2010 and the most ever in GM's 103 years of existence. And as a reward of the banner year, GM "says union workers will get $7,000 profit-sharing checks.
That bang and scream you just heard was Romney 2012 shooting itself square in the foot
If you are a devoted Kos fan an living in AZ, I feel your pain. It's not every Day that neo-nativist (can we call them the "New Know-Nothings"?) legislation sponsored by an open sympathizer of white supremacy becomes law,(at least not since the Wilson administration); and I'm sure you're feeling that the disapproving eyes of the world is on your state right now.
They are; but take heart. The old Greek saying "whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" is as true today as it was then, and in a fit of apparent madness, this law's authors included in it a provision that will lead to its utter destruction. Within a year, every law enforcement agency in the state will be screaming for its repeal. That is, if you do your part.
Your weapon? Sec. 2. Title 11, ch. 7 ARS $G.:
Really, I couldn't make this up. In case you came in late, yesterday someone tried to blow up the house occupied by Congressman Pieriello's brother and family (mistakenly thinking it was the Congressmans)
Today, Andy Sere the real, live, actual official spokesman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (so presumably someone the RNCC thinks is GOOD at public speaking.) had this to say about the incident:
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere said that while his organization doesn't condone the actions of the person or people who cut a gas line at Perriello's brother's house .., Perriello is not the victim.
"Central and Southside Virginians are the ones who are going to have the bear the burden of increased taxes," Sere told The Roanoke Times. "What you're seeing is a frustration among his constituents who believe he's not listening to them."
and he wasn't done yet:
By now, I hope you've heard about the attempt to blow up Rep. Thomas Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother and his family by cutting the propane line leading to their home. And perhaps you heard that the house became a target because "Tea Party" activists mistakenly published his address instead of his brother's in a blog post urging angry Teabaggers to "stop by and "add a personal touch" to their views about Perriello's yes vote on health care.
Worse yet, when Politico and other news outlets informed the blogger of his mistake, he refused to correct himself because (brace yourself)
Troxel, a 2005 graduate of Liberty University, added "I was a journalism major in college, so I have every reason to believe my research is accurate."
(The Stupid, it burns.)
But the icing on the cake came today when the blogger responsible dismissed the attack on the family with a flippant:
Oh well, collateral damage."
Well, the fallout from Barry "ballgame" Obama's walk off grand Slam of speech continues and just keeps getting weirder. Now that it looks like Rep Joe Wilson's outburst is going to cost him roughly $142524.75 a letter and climbing (Update $152,000 as of 9:37 pm EDT-go you Magnificent Kossacks, GO!), it appears another Republican masochist has decided to step up to take her licks.
Unemployed sportscaster, Facebook devotee and former Wasilla High point guard: Sarah "Death Panel" Palin has officially eclipsed even Rep Wilson for the biggest Oh NO she DIDN'T moment of the night:
She complained about OBAMA's lack of Civility
Really. I couldn't make this stuff up:
"In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I've raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters," Palin wrote. "He called these concerns "bogus," "irresponsible," and "a lie" -- so much for civility."
This will probably be the shortest diary I ever write, but my dander is well and truly up and I want this scumbag called out early and often.
As MSNBC pointed out-Obama, was heckled from the right side of the aisle. Well Politico, ID'ed the culprit for this breach of decorum and civility, and shocker of shockers, it was a southern Republican:
"There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false - the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," President Obama said.
A loud voice from the Republican side of the hall answered, "Lie" -- my colleague Glenn Thrush reports it was Rep. Joe Wilson (R - S.C.) --
Which is not only a violation of the basic standards politeness one would expect from a grown adult, but of House Rules which specifically outlaw such language.
But even worse than being a violation of Bobby's Rules Of Order, tradition, and civility. Rep Smith's accusation was, not to put to fine a point on it, a lie: (from the Poltico again):
As Obama prepares to address the nation tonight on health care reform, the GOP, are salivating after recent polls showing a majority disapprove of the president's handling of health care
At the same time though, those celebrations may be a bit premature because another poll shows they almost unanimously (85%) consider his health care reform drive vital to saving the economy and making sure they personally have access to health care
So how to explain this dichotomy? I think it can be summed up simply:
People have no idea how badly the current system sucks. They are fed the lie that we have the best Health care in the world, and are vulnerable to GOP attempts to instill FUD, that Obama's reforms will take that away somehow. They are hoping the truth is too complicated to fit on a bumper-sticker, and thus they can obscure it indefinitely.
Enter these three simple charts. It is impossible to look at them and not see how bad things really are: