TEA PARTIER MAKES SHOCKING OBAMACARE COMPARISON
Bill O'Brien Compares Obamacare To Fugitive Slave Act
The Huffington Post | Ashley Alman | 08/01/2013
DURING AN AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY RALLY ON THURSDAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REP. BILL O'BRIEN (R) COMPARED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT TO THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT.
"And what is Obamacare?" O'Brien, formerly the state's House Speaker, asked. "It is a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to federal… to slave states."
The tea party-backed O'Brien, who is currently exploring a run for Congress, made the remarks at a statue of John Parker Hale, one of the first U.S. senators to take a stand against slavery in the 1800s.
O'Brien continued: "Barack Obama and our allies fooled us long enough to pass a law that is clearly among the worst ever enacted by Congress."
"BILL O'BRIEN'S PAINFUL AND GROSS COMPARISON IS JUST THE LATEST IN A LONG LINE OF MISLEADING ATTACKS AND RHETORIC PROMOTED BY THE SAME SPECIAL INTERESTS WHO OPPOSED HEALTH REFORM IN THE FIRST PLACE," said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director to Granite State Progress said in a statement.
HAWKINS SAID THAT AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY AND ITS SUPPORTERS ARE ACTIVELY WORKING TO MAKE HEALTH COVERAGE EXPANSION "AS SCARY AND BURDENSOME AS POSSIBLE."
O'Brien's appearance at the event was part of an ongoing, Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity campaign targeting President Barack Obama's signature health care law. THE ADVOCACY GROUP RECENTLY SPONSORED AN ADVERTISEMENT THAT ASKED MISLEADING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
RUSH LIMBAUGH TELLS HIS UGLIEST LIE EVER
Jason Easleymore | PoliticusUSA | March, 21st, 2014
Rush Limbaugh told his most deplorable lie yet when he speculated that President Obama threatened the family of, and waterboarded a local reporter who inaccurately reported that White House reporters give their questions to Jay Carney before press conferences.
Limbaugh picked up on local TV reporter in Catherina Anaya’s claim that White House reporters give their press conference questions to Press Secretary Jay Carney in advance, “One of the things I found interesting is reporters and correspondents, unless it is breaking news, they provide questions to him in advance so he is already preparing for the answer.”
Her claim sparked a quick rebuke from Carney, liberal and conservative White House journalists. Anaya apologized last night for her bad reporting:
None of this stopped Rush Limbaugh from running with the inaccurate and untrue claim.
LIMBAUGH: Man, did they make her walk it back! Wow. They made her basically say she is the most unqualified, incompetent reporter ever to set foot in the White House. She had to walk the plank! I mean, if I didn’t know better, there would be two Al-Qaeda guys standing next to her holding long knives. Man! So her excuse now is, she admits she submitted her question in advance ’cause she wanted Carney’s approval.
The mistake she made was thinking that that’s how everybody in the White House press corps does it. That’s right. She just assumed that’s what everybody did. So she retracted, and she apologized, and she admitted to being a horrible journalist. “The White House never asked for my questions in advance and never instructed me on what to ask. I did not attribute or report factually last night, and for that I deeply apologize.”
Oh, this is worse than what I thought they were gonna make her do. It’s just… I haven’t seen the video. All I have is the audio. I would love to get a body-language expert, watch it, and try to find the signals about her being tortured. (interruption) “Was there any torture used to secure this confession?” That’s a legitimate question. These people have seen torture, like at Abu Ghraib. Did they make her do anything? (interruption) Was she waterboarded?
Yeah, that’s a good question: Did they waterboard? Did they threatened her family? Anaya, did they threaten deportation? What did they do to get this confession?
Limbaugh built on the already disproven, and apologized for, report by claiming that the White House made her apologize. Rush didn’t just stop there. He speculation that Obama tortured her, and threatened her family. Rush Limbaugh spreads lies and misinformation on a daily basis, but this may have been his ugliest Obama lie yet.
Some people on the left wish that the world could ignore Rush Limbaugh and his daily venomous spew, but the right wing talker, along with Fox News, is one of the primary sources of misinformation in this country. Limbaugh’s comments highlight the fact that Republicans can’t decide who their Barack Obama is.
Days after Limbaugh claimed that Obama was weak for filling out an NCAA tourney bracket, he pushed the idea that the president is now George W. Bush on steroids.
Limbaugh knew that the story wasn’t true, but it played into the conservative myth that media is liberal and in the bag for the Democratic president. Rush Limbaugh spends his days intentionally misinforming his listeners, who then take their incorrect beliefs and spread them around as fact to everyone that they come into contact with. Limbaugh’s serial lies are one of the main ways that he and radio show are harming the country.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
when your only news sources are Fox/Rush/Drudge, etc., and you lack intellectual curiosity, you become exactly what the RWNJs like to call other people....low information voters. They are unable to see their own hypocrisy.
TEA PARTY CHALLENGER MATT BEVIN ADVISES MITCH MCCONNELL TO 'RETIRE WITH DIGNITY'
The Huffington Post | by Shadee Ashtari | 03/19/2014
Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin advised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “retire with dignity” after serving five terms, during a campaign speech in Middletown, Ky. on Tuesday, according to Time.
“There’s no one, myself included, who could go to Washington for 20-30-40 years and not change. It’s cathartic, good, refreshing for there to be turnover,” the tea party-backed candidate told the crowd. “It’s best to retire with dignity. I’m offering Mitch McConnell the chance to do so.”
Bevin, a Louisville businessman, also expressed disappointment in the slew of attack mailings directed at his campaign.
“I’ve gotten so much ugly mail,” Bevin said. “I’m starting to hate myself.”
On Monday, Bevin accepted Kentucky Educational Television’s invitation to a Republican Senate primary debate and accused McConnell of rejecting to participate because he “can’t defend his record.”
“I’d love to debate him, but he’s afraid to because he can’t defend his record and he has no vision for the future," Bevin told WKU Public Radio on Tuesday. "He can’t run on anything he’s done in the past.”
Among likely Republican GOP primary voters, Bevin trails McConnell by 38 points, according to a to a March Public Opinion Strategies poll. The Kentucky primary will take place on May 20.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
REPUBLICANS USE STALINESQUE TACTICS TO SHOW THEIR LOVE FOR THE CONSTITUTION
Adalia Woodbury | Politics USA | March, 6th, 2014
The next time Republicans and their surrogates at Fox news talk about their love for the constitution, and especially when they claim to care about civil rights, remember Wednesday, March 5 2014. That was the day Republicans in the House and the Senate took a sledgehammer to the constitution of the United States.
There was the stunt bill to sue President Obama for being president.
There was that predominantly Republican block of Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the DOJ’s civil rights division. As Sarah Jones pointed out beautifully in her post, the real reason Republicans objected to Adegbile’s nomination is his effectiveness as an advocate for voting rights that extend beyond the devout followers of the Republican cult.
Their stated reason, in reality, is as much a swipe at civil rights as their primary motive. By stating their opposition to Adegbile because as a criminal defense attorney he represented Mumia Abu Jamal amounts to an admission of the Republican Party’s opposition to the sixth amendment which guarantees all criminal defendants a right to counsel – including those accused of the most heinous of crimes. After all, the constitution that Republicans love only provides privileges for Republicans and corporations.
It’s more than shameful that seven Democrats (Casey, #$%$, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, Pryor and Walsh) joined the Republicans in their opposition to the sixth Amendment.
Then there’s the Darrell Issa meltdown after Louise Lerner, once again, invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during the latest chapter of Issa’s IRS inquisition. How dare she invoke a right that is guaranteed under the Constitution. After all, she isn’t a Republican! How Dare Elijah Cummings think that, as the ranking member on this committee, he also gets to ask questions. Didn’t he know Issa’s inquisitions are one sided validations of debunked conspiracy theories?
Moreover, this inquisition is really about preserving the life’s blood of the Republican Party. Issa is fighting to protect the anonymity of rich individuals and corporations that launder money to the Republican Party through 501(c )(4)s. Anonymity is key because corporate free speech shouldn’t mean people knowing if their purchases might be financing efforts to allow corporations to poison their air and water with impunity while simultaneously taking away people’s jobs, housing, healthcare, insurance and education.
Republican surrogate, Fox, wasn’t about to miss out on the day of assault on the constitution. Republican puppet, Jon Scott, came right out and said if Louise Lerner waves her Fifth Amendment rights, the death threats she has been receiving will go away.
"I can see why if you’re getting death threats, why you wouldn’t want to open yourself up to more scrutiny,” Scott admitted. “But at the same time, it would seem that answering some of the questions might cause some of these people who are so angry to ease up."
Make no mistake. Scott’s comments amounted to legitimizing the Stalinesque death threats as a means of getting people to give up their constitutional rights.
All of this fits a pattern in which the constitution that Republicans say they love is much like wealth. They believe both are reserved exclusively for Republicans and their corporate sugar daddies and they are willing to use Joseph Stalin’s tactics to make sure the rest of us get the message.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Salon  / By Joan Walsh 
Phonies, Frauds and Liars: Why GOP’s Poverty Strategy Is Even More Cynical Than You Think
March 5, 2014 |
It’s heartwarming to see how quickly Rep. Paul Ryan’s new poverty report  has been debunked and discredited. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has the most exhaustive takedown , but the Fiscal Times report featuring scholars  who said Ryan misrepresented their work in order to discredit anti-poverty programs was devastating, too. What’s become clear in the last two days is that, just like Paul, his fellow Republicans have absolutely no plans to fight poverty except, perhaps, repealing the 20th century.
As I noted Tuesday, Ryan did single out one anti-poverty program he likes: the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps low-wage parents by eliminating their tax burden or giving them a refundable tax credit. President Obama, always on the lookout for areas of compromise, quickly responded, with a budget proposal that expands the credit  to benefit 13.5 million workers and increases what it provides them. Obama would pay for the EITC expansion by eliminating the ugly “carried interest” loophole, which lets certain investment bankers evade taxes, along with another tax break for wealthy self-employed individuals.
What was Ryan’s response? He dismissed Obama’s budget as a “campaign brochure.” House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, called it the president’s “most irresponsible budget yet.” Sen. Marco Rubio, who briefly pretended to care about poverty, specifically denounced Obama’s EITC expansion . “I am concerned by the President’s call to expand the status quo on the Earned Income Tax Credit. We should be reforming this flawed approach to helping low-income workers, not expanding it.”
Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress is out with a new report  showing that hiking the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would save $4.6 billion in food stamp benefits. Benefiting 15 percent of the American workforce, such a hike would lift almost a million workers out of poverty. The Economic Policy Institute has estimated  that it would also increase GDP by roughly $32.6 billion and create approximately 140,000 new jobs.
But the minimum wage hike is DOA in the House. Paul Ryan, champion of the poor, calls a minimum wage hike “bad economics” and says it hurts not helps poor people. “Look, what we want are more people to enter into the work force. We don’t want to make it more expensive for employers to be able to hire people,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box in January. “With these horrible labor force participation rates, what matters most is getting people into the work force, then getting the skills and the economic growth that allows them to get a better paying job.”
Republicans have always claimed, with little evidence, that a minimum wage hike would kill jobs, and they got some backing from a CBO report that said the proposed hike could shave up to 500,000 jobs over several years. Most other studies, it should be noted, find no such impact .
But GOP worries about job loss can’t be taken seriously, either. As the New York Times reports , cuts to extended unemployment insurance and the SNAP program will cost the economy at least 275,000 jobs. Public sector employment alone has fallen by over 600,000  in the last three years, because of public spending cuts – and that’s during an economic recovery.
But you know what’s actually improving the economy? The Affordable Care Act. The Wall St. Journal reports  that the law “is already boosting household income and spending.” Spending rose an unusually high 0.4% in January while personal incomes jumped 0.3%, and the WSJ says the ACA’s expanded Medicaid benefits and insurance subsidies “accounted for a big chunk of the increase on both fronts.” But the House just took its 50th vote to repeal the ACA.
Ryan insists the war on poverty created a “poverty trap.” It’s clear what the real poverty trap is: Republicans who resist every effort to improve the lives of American workers.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
STEVE KING WARNS THAT GAY PEOPLE MIGHT TRY TO TRICK AMERICAN BUSINESSES INTO DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THEM
Hunter Follow | Daily Kos | MAR 04, 2014
We hadn't heard from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for a while. I had assumed that was because he had gotten his arms caught in two vending machines, but I see that is not the case. He surfaced this week to warn us that the momentary failure of Arizona nutcases to legalize religious-based discrimination against gay people will bring doom to us all.
“When you’re in the private sector and you’re an individual entrepreneur with God-given rights that our founding fathers defined in the Declaration, you should be able to make our own decisions on what you do in that private business,” King said.
He quickly clarified that he saw civil rights laws as an exception to that rule, but one that shouldn’t be expanded to protect LGBT people. “There’s nothing mentioned in [civil rights laws] about self-professed behavior,” he said, “and that’s what they’re trying to protect is special rights for self-professed behavior.”
Not sure what "self-professed" means in this context. Oh wait, he's gonna explain it to us.
The congressman went on to imply that LGBT people are making their identities known in order to entrap business owners into discriminating against them.
“The one thing that I reference when I say ‘self-professed,’” he said, “is how do you know who to discriminate against? They have to tell you. And are they then setting up a case? Is this about bringing a grievance or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have?”
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Ah, I see. It's all a plot by gay Americans to trick businesses into discriminating against them, probably by going in there and saying "I'm gay and I would like a hamburger and/or wedding cake" and stuff, thus driving innocent godbotherers to ruin. In fact, it's possible that straight people will start going into businesses claiming to be gay just to see if they get discriminated against. Where will the madness end?
He then implied that homosexuality cannot be “independently verified” and can be “willfully changed.”
“If it’s not specifically protected in the Constitution,” he said of civil rights protections, “then it’s got to be an immutable characteristic, that being a characteristic that can be independently verified and cannot be willfully changed.”
A characteristic that cannot be independently verified and can be willfully changed? Hmm, that sounds like a religious belief. It sounds a lot like a religious "belief," actually.
It would be a terrible thing if American businesses started pretending to have religious convictions in order to, say, claim immunity to certain laws or get out of certain business expenses. Soon you'd have places that sell model airplane kits pretending their whole business depended on the proper management of employee ovaries, or restaurants claiming that their religion forbids them from washing the salad tongs because that's what Salad Bar Satan would want. Luckily for all of us, those things probably would never happen because everybody knows American business owners are scrupulously honest.
Gotta watch out for those gay folks, though.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER APOLOGIZES FOR SAYING MEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO RAPE WOMEN IF ABORTION IS LEGAL
The Huffington Post | by Samantha Lachman | 02/28/2014
A Republican state lawmaker who has been criticized by the Maine Democratic Party for his past statements about homosexuality, rape and abortion, said Wednesday that he regrets the comments, the Morning Sentinel reported.
Democrats called for state Rep. Lawrence Lockman’s resignation after blogger Mike Tipping chronicled Lockman's public statements since the 1980s in a blog post Tuesday.
Among other declarations and protestations concerning the IRS, HIV/AIDS and homosexuality, Lockman, then president of the Pro-Life Education Association, said in a letter sent in 1990 that he didn't see why rape shouldn't be acceptable if abortion is legal.
"If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?" Lockman wrote. "At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t [in most cases] result in anyone’s death."
Lockman released a statement Wednesday in which he said he regrets his comments.
"I have always been passionate about my beliefs, and years ago I said things that I regret," the statement read. "I hold no animosity toward anyone by virtue of their gender or sexual orientation, and today I am focused on ensuring freedom and economic prosperity for all Mainers."
GOP: PARTY OVER COUNTRY
David Atkins | digby | 2/20/2014
Greg Sargent has a good snag: not only do Americans broadly support immigration reform, so really do Republicans and evangelicals when the issue is fully explained:
Republican leaders themselves have admitted the problem must be solved. Last summer, back when reform looked plausible, John Boehner said a “vast majority” of House Republicans “do believe that we have to wrestle” with the problem of the 11 million. There’s no longer any debate from top Republicans: the status quo is unacceptable, including when it comes to the status of the undocumented.
There is evidence that even Republican base voters respond to the argument that the current situation is unacceptable. GOP pollster Whit Ayres explains that his polling and focus grouping shows that Republicans are hostile up front to reform, but once they are told the consequences of inaction are to maintain the broken status quo, they change their minds and support legalization under certain conditions.
Two polls this week found that more Americans say doing something about the 11 million is as important or more so than securing the border. Indeed, as Francis Wilkinson has put it, not only is the policy debate over the need to deal with the 11 million mostly over; the cultural debate underlying it is over, too.
FEAR OF TEA PARTY PRIMARIES MAY BE MOTIVATING REPUBLICANS HERE, BUT THE BIGGEST REASON REPUBLICANS ARE REFUSING TO ACT ON IMMIGRATION REFORM IS THAT THEY CYNICALLY DON'T WANT PRESIDENT OBAMA TO GET THE CREDIT. SO THEY'RE TAKING A GAMBLE ON WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE WITHOUT LATINO SUPPORT IN 2016 (PRESUMABLY WINNING 75% OF THE WHITE VOTE?), THEN TAKING CREDIT FOR PASSING IMMIGRATION REFORM THEN.
FROM A STRATEGIC POINT OF VIEW, THAT'S A BAD AND VERY RISKY BET. FROM A MORAL POINT OF VIEW, IT'S AN OUTRAGE.
Sargent notes dryly:
Reform will happen. Republicans can continue deferring action, forever hoping that the next cycle will make embracing reform easier for them politically, or give them more leverage over what reform ends up looking like. Maybe that gamble will pay off. Or maybe it won’t, in which case reform will have to wait until Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress, and do it themselves.
Anything can happen in politics, of course, but it's likelier to be the latter than the former no matter how 2014 plays out.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
RIGHTWING NUTS’ ANTI-GAY IMPLOSION: HOW A NEW PLOY CAN DOOM THE PARTY
What began as opposition to a contraception mandate, on religious grounds, is now a real can of worms. Oops!
BRIAN BEUTLER | Salon | 2/14/2014
An anti-gay bill that may become law in Kansas could test the consistency of conservatives who oppose the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer sponsored insurance include birth control coverage.
What does being gay have to do with birth control, other than that religious conservatives regard both as sinful forms of contraception?
I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, the backdrop. Obamacare’s contraception mandate faces a number of challenges, including from devout business owners, who argue that complying with it — and, thus, facilitating employee access to birth control — would violate their religious beliefs.
Elite conservatives and Congressional Republicans have rallied to their defense. Not, they insist, because they personally share with the owners’ uneasiness about birth control per se, but because the mandate tramples religious liberty. There has revealingly been no similar condemnation of other Obamacare benefit mandates that would presumably require entrepreneurial Christian Scientists to facilitate all manner of medical care that their religion forbids. Perhaps that’ll change if a Christian Scientist takes the Obama administration to court. Maybe there’ll be a conservative outcry against the Affordable Care Act’s preventive service requirements (nothing tramples religious liberties like colorectal cancer screenings). But they would be taking a first step on a slope I doubt they want to slide down on their backsides.
Which brings us to Kansas.
In anticipation of a federal court ruling that would end its gay marriage ban, the Kansas state legislature is advancing a 21st century Jim Crow law for anti-gay religious residents. They may not be able to prevent gay marriages for long, but nobody in Kansas will be vulnerable to civil or criminal penalties for discriminating against gay people with respect to their marriages or other partnerships, if said discrimination is an artifact of religious belief.
If a gay man walks into my store to buy booze, should I be able to turn him away because he might be throwing a wedding party? Many in the Kansas state government think so. If two gay, married men want to have a romantic dinner or to send their adopted daughter to daycare, Kansas thinks you, the restauranteur or daycare provider should be able to refuse them service.
I suspect a federal judge will void this almost as soon as it becomes law (if it does; new reports suggest an uphill climb), so the practical impact might be moot. But in the realm of ideas, opponents of the contraception mandate must at the very least support the intent of the Kansas bill, if not its exact form. In fact, to be consistent, opponents of the contraception mandate must believe that this soon-to-be law isn’t necessary — that religious individuals and businesses in Kansas and everywhere are inherently exempt from laws that require them to provide services that might facilitate or affirm the legitimacy of gay unions.
This isn’t about narrow instances in which particular services (catering or photography) might require religious people — or atheists for that matter — to attend services that conflict with their most central convictions. It poses a real challenge to conservatives who believe the contraception mandate constitutes an attack on religious freedom and should not apply to any employer who objects to facilitating the acquisition of birth control.
Even conservative columnist Tim Carney, who’s admirably consistent on these matters, can’t bring himself to champion the Kansas bill. Carney doesn’t believe federal law should prohibit business owners from discriminating against customers in the first place — but given that it does, he concedes that the Kansas bill goes too far.
Sentiment: Strong Buy