House Republicans Pass Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill (this is the “War on Women”)

Earlier this month, Democratic women lawmakers protested the bill in the hallway outside its House Judiciary Committee hearing. They pointed out that it would raise health care costs for women, drive insurance companies to drop a previously noncontroversial medical benefit and financially penalize small businesses. They also took issue with the fact that an all-male group of Republicans was pushing the bill through the legislative process with very little input from women.

“H.R. 7 is a reflection of a majority that is out of touch with the American people and struggling to understand fundamental truths about reproductive health — and we really mean struggle,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said on the floor of the House. “This extreme legislation was originally sponsored by a man, originated from a subcommittee composed of 13 men, and was passed out of the Judiciary Committee with the votes of 21 Republican men. This has been the problem for a long time — men in blue suits and red ties determining what women can and should do when it comes to their own health.”

via House Republicans Pass Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill.

This is what the GOP’s “War on Women” is all about.

It’s not, as Randy “Ayn” Paul suggested this women, a flashback to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.  It’s a consistent and persistent move to use legislation to limit the rights of women.

Unless the GOP can get the honesty and integrity together to address their actual legislative agenda and how it relates to the rights and opportunities for women, they should be laughed out of the room when they make such ridiculous claims.

The Agony of Fat, White, Liar Frank Luntz

And yet, over the hour and a half I spend talking with him—the first time he has spoken publicly about his current state of mind—it\’s hard to grasp what the crisis is about. Luntz hasn\’t renounced his conservative worldview. His belief in unfettered capitalism and individual self-reliance appears stronger than ever. He hasn\’t become disillusioned with his very profitable career or his nomadic, solitary lifestyle. His complaints—that America is too divided, President Obama too partisan, and the country in the grip of an entitlement mentality that is out of control—seem pretty run-of-the-mill. But his anguish is too deeply felt not to be real. Frank Luntz is having some kind of crisis. I just can\’t quite get my head around it.

via The Agony of Frank Luntz – Molly Ball – The Atlantic.

Single guy…sitting in one of his many homes….by himself…paid for by popularizing momentous lies…but can’t quite figure out why his derp isn’t working any more.

Maybe it’s because he keeps lying to himself.

Findings released Thursday by Pew showed that most Republicans think rich people are largely responsible for their socioeconomic status. They also feel the same way about poor people.

Fifty-seven percent of GOP voters said that a person is rich because “he or she worked harder than others,” while just 32 percent attribute it to advantages they enjoyed. The results are almost completely flipped among Democrats.

Overall, 51 percent of Americans said that people are wealthy due to advantages in life, while 38 percent said it had more to do with hard work.

Pew also found that 51 percent of Republicans believe that people are poor due to a lack of hard work, compared with just 32 percent who attribute it to circumstances beyond their control.

[full story]

This is a deep and firmly-held belief by the liars.  Pathological even.

But what if the Real People are wrong? That is the possibility Luntz now grapples with. What if the things people want to hear from their leaders are ideas that would lead the country down a dangerous road?

“You should not expect a handout,” he tells me. “You should not even expect a safety net. When my house burns down, I should not go to the government to rebuild it. I should have the savings, and if I don’t, my neighbors should pitch in for me, because I would do that for them.” The entitlement he now hears from the focus groups he convenes amounts, in his view, to a permanent poisoning of the electorate—one that cannot be undone. “We have now created a sense of dependency and a sense of entitlement that is so great that you had, on the day that he was elected, women thinking that Obama was going to pay their mortgage payment, and that’s why they voted for him,” he says. “And that, to me, is the end of what made this country so great.”

Remember folks, when a rich guy gets tax cuts, that is a motivation for him to work harder.  When it goes to someone who actually does need the extra money, it’s a handout that makes them stop trying…..according to rich guys.


The Inefficiency of Inequality

The Inefficiency of Inequality.

To understand why, consider what happens when economic opportunities are in short supply. When any market has a shortage, not everyone gets the things they want. But who does get them also matters, because it’s not always the people who value those things the most.

Economists Edward Glaeser and Erzo Luttmer made this point in a 2003 paper about rent control. “The standard analysis of price controls assumes that goods are efficiently allocated, even when there are shortages,” they wrote. “But if shortages mean that goods are randomly allocated across the consumers that want them, the welfare costs from misallocation may be greater than the undersupply costs.” In other words, letting the wrong people buy the scarce goods can be even worse for society than the scarcity itself.

I use a pretty simple business example.  Assume you are a business that sells pretty basic widgets.  Something about $10-20/widget.  Do you want to have one customer who makes $1,000,000,000 year or 10,000 customers who make $100,000/yr.

When we see an economy that is rebounding on paper, but real world demand lags what would be expected, there become real questions about how things are supposed to work vs how they actually work.


Blacks, Latinos to Pay Disproportionate Price Over Blocked Medicaid Expansion

Blacks make up 13 percent of the nation’s population but will represent 27 percent of those who will lose out on Medicaid coverage because of these states’ refusal to expand the program’s eligibility to the national standard under Obamacare, according to the 11th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. State of the Dream Report.

Latinos make up 15 percent of the population and 21 percent of the coverage gap. Whites, meanwhile, will be underrepresented—they are 65 percent of the population but have only 47 percent in the gap.

Had the Affordable Care Act been fully implemented, half of the 50 million people who were uninsured before the 2010 law was passed would gain access to coverage through the state and federal health insurance exchanges or the Medicaid expansion. Because of the 2012 Supreme Court decision that ruled states’ expansion of the program optional, 25 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid to include wage earners up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.


Blacks, Latinos to Pay Disproportionate Price Over Blocked Medicaid Expansion –

And you wonder why Southern GOP Governors all opted-out as fast as possible and to great cheers from the Tea Party faithful (who all turn out to be old and white).

Voter-Suppression Laws Aim To Disenfranchise Black People

A new research study from University of Massachusetts Boston professors Keith G. Bentele and Erin E. O’Brien confirms what voting rights advocates have been charging for years: Voter-suppression laws are partisan measures that disproportionately target African-Americans.

In the study, titled “Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies,” the authors argue that “the Republican Party has engaged in strategic demobilization efforts in response to changing demographics, shifting electoral fortunes, and an internal rightward ideological drift among the party faithful.”

via Study: Voter-Suppression Laws Aim To Disenfranchise Black People | The National Memo.

And now we have the data to back up the pretty obvious assumption.

When there’s a big “solution” (Voter ID) to a problem that doesn’t exist (Voting Fraud), you can figure with a high degree of probability that the actual “problem” (GOP Losing Elections) was something other than originally outlined.

‘Cancer’ of LGBT bigotry is going to kill the Republican Party says former GOPer

“I have spent my whole career working to create an atmosphere where gay conservatives could live their lives openly and work in the conservative movement,” he said, but again and again, the Republican Party has missed its chances to denounce naked bigotry in its ranks. “The Republicans made a decision to be on the wrong side.”

During the campaign to elect former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), he said, the candidate chose openly gay Republican operative Kenneth Grenell as its foreign policy spokesperson.

A surge of right-wing outrage forced the campaign to let Grenell go within days. Romney, LaSalvia said, “couldn’t stand up for Grenell” or even say that it was wrong to judge someone on the basis of their orientation.

via GOProud co-founder: ‘Cancer’ of LGBT bigotry is going to kill the Republican Party | The Raw Story.

It’s not going to change with the current crop of old geezers that fund the GOP.  They are old school bigots, and they ain’t changing.

Humanity Is Becoming Increasingly Less Violent, with One Exception

Dr. Steven Pinker, Pulitzer prize-winning author and Harvard psychology professor, writes, “Today we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence.” He acknowledges: “In a century that began with 9/11, Iraq, and Darfur, the claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene.” Pinker points out, wars make headlines, but there are fewer conflicts today, and wars don’t kill as many people as they did in the Middle Ages, for instance. Also, global rates of violent crime have plummeted in the last few decades. Pinker notes that the reason for these advances are complex but certainly the rise of education, and a growing willingness to put ourselves in the shoes of others has played its part.

via Humanity Is Becoming Increasingly Less Violent, with One Exception — Religious Violence | Alternet.

This article touches on one of the issues with the human condition in the modern era: we have access to vastly more information about pain and suffering and death than we were ever build to deal with

The level of grief and psychological pain humans can experience from the loss of life can be crippling.   By opening our psyche to full and total amount of death and destruction that occurs “normally” in our entire species, we have to a degree overwhelmed ourselves in our conception of what we, as a whole, are experiencing.

The upside to this is that our aversion to pain and suffering, and our awareness of how much of it there is, leads directly to the data Dr. Pinker is highlighting.  

The more we are aware of suffering, the more likely we are to combat it, and the less of it there is.

Republicanism on Retreat to Natural Constituency (1%)

PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.

via Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents.

It’s gotten so bad for the GOP, they are now sending out memos on how to spin cutting off unemployment benefits for over a million people.

A memo from House leadership to the Republican caucus coaches members on how to speak about unemployment in a compassionate manner, according to the Washington Post.

The memo tells representatives that unemployment is a “personal crisis” and asks them to give “proper consideration” to an extension of longterm unemployment benefits.

The Senate voted to advance legislation that extends the emergency unemployment benefits Tuesday, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has insisted that the extension must be paid for in order to pass the lower chamber.

[full story]

It should be noted…every other time the GOP has extended unemployment benefits in recent memory, they didn’t demand off-sets elsewhere.  However, now with Obama in charge, things must be paid for out of other programs.

Including the wars the GOP cut taxes to pay for back in the Aughts.