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.

Advertisements

The Paul Ryan “Tour of Lies” Continues

Paul Ryan won’t back down on statements branded as false – latimes.com

CLEVELAND — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan declined on Tuesday to back away from statements in his party convention speech that nonpartisan fact checkers have branded as false or misleading.

In a round of television interviews, the Wisconsin congressman was challenged by network anchors to defend statements on Medicare, the federal deficit and the 2008 closing of a GM plant in his hometown, Janesville.

At least folks are making that first step. The idea is to make sure and mention that every fact checking group has rated his statements lies, do so both to his face, and again after the interview is done. That’s the media’s job.

I guess using every tax avoidance loophole in history is “hard work”, but doesn’t it disqualify one from being realistically considered for public service?

Washington Post 

“Carried interest was intended to motivate managers going forward,” said Victor Fleischer, an expert in carried interest at the University of Colorado law school. “In cases like the Romneys, it just shows it is really all about fancy tax planning. It’s not motivating managers going forward.  Not only is Mitt not providing any future services, Ann never did.”

In recent years, the carried-interest deduction has proved controversial on Capitol Hill. There have been several unsuccessful efforts to eliminate the tax break, which critics say improperly treats profits like capital gains, and tax these earnings as ordinary income at 35 percent.

Some tax experts worry that the arrangements Romney benefits from set a bad precedent for a president. “He looks for every tax angle to a degree that is unbecoming in someone who would be the executive in command of the administrative apparatus that enforces the tax law,” said Lee Sheppard, a tax lawyer and contributing editor for Tax Analysts, a publication for accounting and legal professionals.

Only the rich and connected get to treat their labor as if it were capital (and thus get a 50%+ “motivational” tax break) . This is *the* problem, not a solution.

If you believe in Net Neutrality, you must stands against the GOP

Patexia.com | GOP opposes net neutrality, internet piracy | Patexia.com

Receiving considerably less attention was the downright Orwellian naming of the “Internet freedom plank,” which opposes net neutrality. Unsurprisingly, the Republicans are looking to remove regulations in the telecommunications industry. Specific regulations are not mentioned.

Perhaps more surprisingly, particularly from the party of the USA PATRIOT Act, is a promise to protect your private data from the prying eyes of Big Brother. The Obama Adminsitration’s stance in favor of net neutrality is derided as “frozen in the past.”

The party that brought us the “series of tubes” we call the “internets” now plans to turn the tubes over completely to corporate America. This is not a good thing.

For those that don’t know or have been misinformed, “Net Neutrality” is the concept that all traffic on the Internet gets treated the same.  What many Telecoms and ISP’s want to do is filter traffic to allow those that pay more to have their content delivered faster and more reliably.  This has the obvious effect of slowing down and degrading the content of those who don’t pay the piper…or “tuber”.

It is the founding principle of the Net, and now Republicans are officially dead-set against it.

If Paul Ryan “rounds” a four hour plus marathon time down to two hours and fifty minutes…what other things is he lying, err, rounding about?

FARK.com: (7302958) Republican Paul Ryan now says he didn’t run a marathon in less than three hours, but he did catch a fish [—————- T H I S —————-] big

I like to ask Ryan supporters a simple math question…in two parts…

A) How many times in the history of the U.S. have we had 10 years of 5%+ GPD growth and 2% unemployment?

B) How many times does Paul Ryan assume we will if we adopt his budget?

And that is from the guy that “rounded” about a third off his marathon record…starting to become clear what Ryan is yet?

Republicans in Congress shift from not passing jobs bills to try to extend largest tax cut in history by calling it tax hike

WASHINGTON – Republicans are calling it “Taxmageddon,” the big tax increase awaiting nearly every American family at the end of the year, when a long list of tax cuts are scheduled to expire unless Congress acts. It would be, GOP leaders in Congress say again and again, “the largest tax increase in American history.”

Except it wouldn’t be, not when you take into account population growth, rising wages, and most importantly, the size of the U.S. economy. When those factors are taken into account, the largest tax increases were those imposed to help pay for World War II — back when the U.S. raised additional revenue to pay for wars instead of simply borrowing. Nevertheless, it is an exaggeration that has proved too tempting for top Republicans in Congress:

_ “Any sudden tax hike would hurt our economy, so this fall — before the election — the House of Representatives will vote to stop the largest tax increase in American history,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a May 15 speech in Washington.

_ “Before we leave for August, I expect to schedule a vote on legislation preventing the largest tax increase in history,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wrote in a recent memo to fellow House Republicans.

_ “Millions are unemployed and millions more are underemployed and the country is facing the largest tax hike in history at the end of the year,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor.

Anyone in the Republican party honest enough to recall how these tax cuts, originally, were both temporary and designed as stimulus? No….ok…just checking.

Anyone in the media going to call out these guys on camera about the reality of the extenssion?  No…ok…just checking.

Before the 1940s, the individual income tax applied to only a small percentage of the population. By the end of war, the income tax was levied on most working people, with a top tax rate of 94 percent on income above $200,000.

By comparison, the current top rate is 35 percent, on taxable income above $388,350. If Congress does nothing, the top rate would return to 39.6 percent next year — the same rate that was in place for most of the 1990s.

In dollars, next year’s tax hikes would be the biggest. But the size of the economy is 80 times bigger than it was in the 1940s, which is why economists usually measure taxes and government spending as a share of the U.S. economy.

The 1942 tax increase represented more than 5 percent of the U.S. economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, or GDP. The 1941 tax increase was 2.2 percent of GDP, according to a Treasury Department paper published in 2006.

Next year’s looming tax increase would represent 2.6 percent of GDP — a huge tax hike but not the biggest.

Measured another way, the 1942 tax hike increased federal revenue by a whopping 71 percent, according to the Treasury Department paper. The 1941 tax hike increased federal revenue by 32 percent.

By comparison, next year’s potential tax hike would increase federal revenues by 16 percent, according to CBO.

Funny how when we actually use taxes to pay for wars it leads to “Great” generations.   But when we use tax cuts to pay for wars, it’s obviously domestic spending that is causing the problem.   The mind boggles, but when these guys keep getting away with spouting this b.s., there’s no reason to stop.

FACT CHECK: Republicans exaggerate size of ‘Taxmageddon.’
StarTribune.com
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/158408015.html

Totally not corrupt Florida Governor moves to purge voter rolls of illegal aliens, veterans, and Democrats

Report: Florida purges war-hero voter – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com

A 91-year-old who received a Bronze Star for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge was reportedly told he may not be an American citizen, in an apparent mix-up due to Florida’s attempts to purge noncitizens from its voter rolls. Bill Internicola received a letter this month stating that he had to prove he was a citizen or lose his right to vote, reports the Miami Herald.

For those that don’t recall/blocked it out, Florida also purged many legal voters both before and after the 2000 election, leading to the first ‘CEO’ President (who left the position in disgrace and the country near collapse). In 2012 we’ve seen the largest number of voting restriction laws passed since Reconstruction, as the GOP realizes the only way they can win on a “We are the 1%” platform is by eliminating millions of voters right to say “No, I’d rather be governed by someone who puts people ahead of profit.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76906.html

Post the Tough 1% Guy’s Real Name, Then We’ll Find Out What Happens in the Real World

Just when you may have thought the ongoing battle between the 99% and the 1% was dying down, it may have been reignited. A wealthy banker left a $1.33 tip on a $133 lunch at the True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, California.

To add insult to injury the word “tip” was circled on the receipt, and the banker wrote “get a real job” on the bill. The picture of the receipt was taken and uploaded to the blog Future Ex-Banker by a person who was dining with the anonymous banker. As expected, the blog received a lot of attention and has now been taken down.

The author of the blog wrote, “mention the 99% in my boss presence and feel his wrath. So proudly does he wear his 1% badge of honor that he tips exactly 1% every time he feels the server doesnt sufficiently bow down to his holiness.

“People online who had a chance to see the blog post before it went offline and those who have been made aware of it on social media outlets are outraged. One person called the tip a “tale of greed and contempt,” and another referred to it as “arrogance personified.”

via Banker’s Insulting Waitress Tip Incites Class Warfare Between the 1% and the 99% | Trending Now – Yahoo! News.

I actually know a number of sanctimonious pricks that probably applaud this guy.   Just post the guy’s real name somewhere.  Let the mob that he mocks do its job.

Hump Day Link Dump (Romney’s KKK Logo and Gay Rights Bashing, Dodd on China, Carrier Low IQ, Gingrich’s Latest Lie, Robert Reich Explains, Trump Fails Again, and Newt’s Class War)

Romney uses KKK tagline for his campaign, “Keeping America American”.

Romney tells vet his marriage should be illegal.

MPAA head Chris Dodd (yes, that one) is envious of China’s Great Firewall, and think the U.S. should have one here.   Curious note… part of the point of the Chinese firewall is to avoid paying outrageous copyright fees to U.S. companies.   The point of the U.S. Great Firewall would be to force U.S. citizens to continue to pay outrageous copyright fees to U.S. companies.

Your phone company is spying on you.   This shouldn’t be news to anyone.    Most of the Republicans candidates want todstrengthen Patriot Act rules that allow this, and then claim to be supporting your freedom by doing so.

Another example of a Tea Party group walking all over that racism line.

Gingrich, obviously, does the exact same kind of thing with the Palestinians, echoing insanely racist rhetoric.

Trump’s debate strategy goes bankrupt, one of Trump’s specialties.

Gingrich tax plan: Give it all to the 1% (not the taxes…the money).

Robert Reich on how math works (and why Republicans don’t seem to care about that).

China has it’s own “occupy” movement happening.

Giving Newt the business on his “poor people, especially poor kids,  are worthless and lazy” kick he’s been off on.

UPDATE:  Larry Wilmore absolutely smashing Newt’s outrageous statements and racist supposition.

Idiot Billionaire Says Stupid Stuff, Makes Money Off It

News from The Associated Press http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRUMP_2012?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-08-16-15-50-08

Trump also defended Perry’s suggestion Monday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing a “treasonous” act if he pumped more money into the economy. “It was a meaningless phrase, it was just rhetorical. He’s very emotional about how the country is doing,”

Trump said of Perry, pushing back on President George W. Bush’s former political director Karl Rove and other Republicans who have criticized Perry’s comment. “Karl Rove is an empty hat,” Trump said. “We ended up with Obama because of Karl Rove and George W. Bush.”

My apologies for even mentioning this asshat, but the whole “treasonous” thing is not meaningless*.

Calling the Fed Chairman a traitor for “printing money” is dumb on so many levels I can’t evem….words fail….I’m going to have to find a PhotoShop.

Regardless, what Perry is doing is VERY SMART politics.  That stock market rally/dump last week?   The main reason is wasn’t completely one-sided was that Bernanke left the door open to QE3.   It probably won’t happen, but it brought some calm to some very dangerous waters.

What Perry is doing is pre-emptively  attacking any move by *anyone* that may do *anything* to improve our economy before 2012 as a partisan political move.   “He’s only helping you find work so it’ll help Obama, that bastard!”

The Republicans are playing a dangerous game here.  Running on a “failed recovery” for 14 months can get tiresome, especially when there is some improvement.   Constantly saying “it’s been raining all summer” when it’s been over 100 degrees for 48 of the last 50 days eventually wear’s thin, one would think.

But as the Idiot Billionaire notes, by that time everyone will have forgotten that it was Bush’s policies, not his personality, that led to financial collapse.  And if they sell it hard enough, Republicans might even convince enough folks that TARP, and the Stimulus, and the bailouts actually *caused* the worst financial crisis in living memory.

You’d be surprised what a catchy slogan and a billion dollars can do to shape a culture’s perception.   Heck, it can even re-write history.

* check that Constitution you love so much, Rick, for that thing you like to do to people so much you don’t really care if they turn out to be innocent after all.   There’s a specific penalty mentioned for that thing you just accused the Fed Chairman of.   You hoping to pull the switch yourself?  Or just hire a buddy to do it on taxpayer dime?

Funny note: From the linked article…

Dozens of studies have shown that witnesses’ memories of events often change when they are supplied with new contextual information. Itiel Dror, a cognitive psychologist who has done extensive research on eyewitness and expert testimony in criminal investigations, told me, “The mind is not a passive machine. Once you believe in something—once you expect something—it changes the way you perceive information and the way your memory recalls it.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann#ixzz1VFBGPmVy

[ahem..although what one mind finds logical often has more to do with emotion, curiously enough]

Basic Economic Math for U.S. Americans (re: Taxes, Revenues, Debts, Deficits, and Defaults)

Remember when you were in the seventh, or maybe eight grade, and your teacher came in and said you were going to learn something called “Algebra”?   Remember how you were all like, “What could I possibly ever need to know this for?!  I’m never going to need to know this stuff!”.

Guess what?  This week is that week.  This is why you need to know this stuff.

We have some fairly important decisions to make in the near future as U.S. Americans on the direction our country needs to take.  I’m sure many of you have divergent opinions on what that direction is, or what we need to do to get there.  So do I.  This post isn’t about that.  This post is about math.  Basic economic math.

Without having this foundation in verifiable, repeatable reality (1+1 always equals 2 in basic math), it is difficult to build a framework of understanding for large and complex systems.  If you don’t know how much of something something else is, or if it’s becoming smaller or larger relative to that thing, it’s hard to make important decisions regarding how you would like things to change (and how to functionally make that happen).

I’ve touched on this subject before.  I think it is fundamental to the disconnect we are now experiencing in this country.  We suck at math.    So without further ado…let’s define terms.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT WORD?!

The two most important numbers in the debt equation are the Debt [D] and GPD [GDP].   Debt is *numerator*.  GPD is the *denominator*.   This gives us a debt-to-GDP ratio.   D/GDP = Debt Ratio.

The largely agreed upon goal for the U.S. economy, that is considered “stable” by pretty much everyone, is a 50-60% Debt to GPD ratio.  What this means is that at any given time, we are carrying a debt load that is slightly larger than one-half (.6 or 60%) of our yearly earning power.    Countries in such a balanced situation to do a few things easily…one, they can borrow quickly and cheaply to deal with crises; two, they can quickly pay down debt if need be to smooth out boom/bush business cycles and three, they aren’t as exposed to downturns in others markets (as opposed to a country with no debt that instead uses a “sovereign wealth fund“).

So…now we have the main component of this this quation…the D/GPD ratio.

You have probably heard a LOT a about “spending” over the past few months, and how it is “out of control”.   You may have even seen some folks cite *yearly deficits* as evidence that “spending is out of control.”

A deficit (and it’s alter ego the “surplus”) is simply the difference (negative for deficits, positive for surplus) between the amount of revenue the government takes in and the amount of spending it puts out.

Part of the disconnect that is happening right now is we are seeing huge deficits, focusing solely on the “spending” side of the equation, and don’t seem to be largely aware how badly *revenues* have dropped off during the recession.

To simplify:  Revenues [R] – Spending [S]= Deficit(-)/Surplus(+) [I]

HOW DO ALL THESE THINGS WORK TOGETHER?!

Remember how I mentioned how there would be Algebra?   Here’s where it all comes together…..(and perhaps, can all fall apart).

There are two final factors that need to be addressed before we can get a final equation that captures the situation.  The are interest rate (i) and growth (G).   Interest, in this case, is interest on our debt.   Growth, in this case, is the change in GDP.

This gives us a Debt-to-GPD ratio that looks like this:

(D+I)*i/GPD*G = Debt-to-GPD Ratio

Which read as  “Debt (D) plus income (I) times interest rate (i) divided by GPD times Growth.

Notice that last equation.  We’ve been hammered by folks that this whole problem is caused by a single thing *spending*.   However, when we look at the whole forest instead of that one tree, we see that spending is a part of the annual deficit/surplus which changes the debt which is the divided by GPD that has been multiplied by the amount of growth (both positive or negative).

When someone says spending “is the whole problem”, they are lying to you through omission.    The deficit/surplus isn’t solely created by spending, it is the *difference between spending and revenues*.     As I’ll illustrate in the next segment of this piece, a good portion of recent huge deficits have been created by corresponding huge drops in revenue.

When you understand that “spending” is one of that largest factors in GROWTH, you should start to wonder about what the point of cutting spending, and hampering growth, is going to do to *help* our overall fiscal situation (the GDP-to-Debt Ratio).

Cutting spending during a recession is like taking the foot off the gas and declaring, “We’ll coast up this hill!”

Coming in the next Part…

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RECENT U.S. AMERICAN HISTORY BY U.S. AMERICANS?! (these are actual responses to actual questions I’ve answered over the past few days…hopefully this covers yours as well)

What Happens When I Get Really Angry

This is probably just a coincidence, but I realized my frustration with the current debt ceiling debate, which had been building for months and finally bubbled over the past week or so, has had some severe consequences.  Sorry about that.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has put together this animation of the phenomenon with their quickly dwindling funds.   There will come a time where we remember, as Americans, when our government was capable of doing such things (and back when we had, I shit you not, “space shuttles”.  This was all back before the Tea Party bankrupted the country…my…those were the days) routinely.

Here’s the gist of what’s going on in response to my annoyance. (and check out the animation, it’s integral to my argument presented below). 

 

Heat Wave Sweeps Across the U.S.
A shroud of high pressure has taken a foot-hold over the U.S. from the Plains to the Northeast, and with it has brought temperatures well into the 90’s and 100’s for half of the country. This animation shows the predicted daily high temperatures from NOAA’s high resolution North American Model (NAM) from July 13-21, 2011.

As evidence that it’s me causing this, well, I offer to you the same amount of evidence as is currently required for a “solid, fact-based argument” in an Idiocracy like mine…coincidence.

I am angry.  I live in Dallas, TX.  It looks like, if you watch the animation….the heat is centered on, and perhaps even emanating from, Dallas.

‘Course, could be all the bullshit around here…which the proximate cause of my anger….and the heat ain’t helpin’ neither…

I dunno…it’s hot…not stopping…cool animation.  Figured I’d link it both figuratively and literally to my personal interpretation of reality, that’s what blogs are for, after all.

Stay frosty, my friends.

And pass the damn debt ceiling.   I’ll cool it off if you do.  Promise.

UPDATE: Videoe evidence…

* and on a 100 point scale no less.