Those times the GOP didn’t threaten government shutdown.

September 28, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Keith Ellison from Minneapolis, USA.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Keith Ellison from Minneapolis, USA.


It is becoming increasingly obvious that Republicans simply do not like to lose. They cannot abide it. They lost the Senate, they lost the popular vote for the House of Representatives, and with Obamacare a big part of the 2012 Presidential election… they lost that too. Their record in the White House since the turn of the century was horrendous, Red States tend to be the highest for poverty and the uninsured, and yet they still demand to be taken as a credible alternative to a President who is shrinking the deficit the fastest since World War II, and helping those with pre-existing conditions get coverage. It is difficult for Republicans to accept that the Democratic President has achieved more in just four years, than the Republican Party has achieved in decades.

So, what in the past, hasn’t made the Republican Party decide they wish to close down government? Well:

The Republicans didn’t threaten to close down government, for the massive Bush deficit:
In 2001, the CBO announced that the Clinton surplus of $280 billion would lead to a surplus of $5.9tn by 2011. After 8 years of Bush, that number was actually -$6tn. Two wars, massive failed tax cuts and a recession later – all of which, Tea Party Republicans appear to have been asleep throughout – and most (over 60%) believe the deficit is growing under Obama. In fact, the deficit is shrinking under Obama, and pretty rapidly. Down 37.6% for the first 10 months of the fiscal year. Look at all of those deficit years. All Republican. Except for since 2008, with the deficit falling rapidly, under a Democrat.

screen shot 2013-01-20 at 5.48.24 am
– Can you imagine how Republicans would have reacted had the Party that inherited the deficit in ’92, and again in ’08 been Republican? The President would be hailed as a great success. The saviour of the US economy from the dark days that came before.

Republicans didn’t feel the need to register their disgust at the President’s indifference to Osama Bin Laden:
Can you imagine the outrage across Republican America if six months after the biggest terrorist attack on US soil, in which thousands of Americans died, the President on National TV, tells the country that when it comes to Osama Bin Laden:

“I don’t know where he is and you know I don’t spend that much time on him really”.

– Can you imagine the outrage if President Obama had said that? If President Obama had said of Benghazi: “You know, I just don’t spend much time on it really” Fox – after visibly exploding with fury live on TV – would spend days discussing just how much President Obama must hate America. Twitter would be a gathering of Americans with Eagles as their profile picture, demanding impeachment for anti-American hate. Can you imagine the Republican reaction, if ten years after the previous President not spending much time catching the man responsible for 3000 American deaths, a Republican President was the Commander-in-Chief when Osama Bin Laden is tracked down and caught? He would be hailed as the saviour of the economy, and the man who brought justice for 9/11. Instead, they are charging President Obama with weakness, over his incredible diplomacy tactic with Iran and Syria.

The Republicans had absolutely no problem with warrantless wiretapping & The Patriot Act:
Can you imagine the storm of shit that would be kicked up had warrantless wiretapping, and The Patriot Act been an Act conceived by the Obama Administration? I shudder to think how many comparisons to Orwell’s 1984 we would be presented with. Badly Photoshopped images of Obama as Stalin would flood social media. How did Republicans react when The Patriot Act was conceived and then passed by Republicans? With complete indifference.

Republicans didn’t threaten government shut down for Republican mistreating of veterans:
If you voted Bush in 2004, whilst displaying a “We support our troops!” bumper sticker, perhaps it’s time to rethink your allegiances; If President Obama’s healthcare plan involved cuts to veterans care, I can say with some degree of certainty that the reaction from Republicans would range from “He hates American soldiers! Impeach NOW!” to… “He’s letting the Terrorists win! It’s a conspiracy!”. And yet, had the Republicans returned to power in 2008, the budget for Veterans care – at the precise time most were coming home from Iraq & Afghanistan – was intended to be slashed. Due to previous cuts to Veterans affairs, centers were closing down, and queues for care became over burdensome due to those cuts. The Administration proposed further cuts. According to the “VA Health Care Funding Alert,” Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Press Release, January 31, 2003; 200,000 veterans were having to wait over six months for a medical visit, due to health care shortages. Can you imagine the Republican response if ‘Obamacare’ included a section dedicated to making it far more difficult for veterans to get healthcare? Ted Cruz would have had a lot more to talk about in his speech that included absolutely nothing of interest.

Well, according to a study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Obamacare will enable 630,000 uninsured veterans to qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, and an extra 520,000 veterans qualify for subsidised health insurance coverage.

This comes at the same time as Republicans in Congress voted to throw 170,000 veterans off of food stamps, with their horrific cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years. Essentially, they created the deficit with two wars, and now they wish to turn their backs on those who fought the wars, by making the most vulnerable of veterans pay for it.
Republicans failed veterans, the Obama administration is putting that right.

Republicans had no problem with the President sitting idly by as New Orleans drowned:
I imagine that had the President reacted to Hurricane Sandy in New York, as his predecessor reacted to New Orleans after Katrina certain right winged media outlets would be insisting on playing video after video of lower Manhattan drowning as the President does nothing. Select Committees would pop up after right winged calls for immediate inquiries into the negligence of the President and his lack of care for American lives. The banging of the impeachment drum would be deafening. What happened when Bush completely mishandled the aftermath of Katrina, with a lack of preparation, emergency aid and reconstruction….. Republicans said nothing.

Republicans registered no anger at the joy the Bush administration took from outsourcing jobs abroad.

“I think outsourcing is a growing phenomenon, but it’s something that we should realize is probably a plus for the economy in the long run”.

– I’d imagine the response would include Tea Party protestations daily about how the President is wilfully killing the American Middle Class, like a crazy out of control Marxist.

Republicans didn’t and still don’t have a problem with growing numbers of uninsured children:
We all know how Republicans feel about ‘Obamacare’. I think there is a distinct possibility that their main problem with the health reforms, are that they involve the words ‘Obama’ & ‘care’. The former being a figure of hate regardless of what he says and does, and the latter being a concept that has eluded Republicans for generations. We should perhaps begin referring to the period between 2001 and 2008, as ‘BushPoverty’ (and if we’re in Texas, we may call it CruzPoverty, given his horrendous record). It’s a phrase Republicans can get on board with, because they remained particularly silent when the Census Bureau report noted that when Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million… but when Bush left office, not only had median incomes fallen, the deficit risen, and poverty spiked, but the number of uninsured people in the US rose to 46.3 million. A 20.6% increase. That’s the record of a Party that now insist we consider them to be the rightful authorities on healthcare in America. Can you imagine how Republicans would have reacted if under a Democratic President, in just 8 years the number of uninsured rose by 20%, poverty spiked, and the median income plummeted? ……. Actually, they’d probably hail it a success.
BushPoverty.

Republicans didn’t threaten to shut down government over: A misleading argument taking the country to war, the massive deficit incurred because of the misleading arguments taking the country to war, a $6tn deficit, the hailing of outsourcing jobs to be great for the country, the drowning of New Orleans, impoverishing veterans, the worst job creation record in decades, the flippant dismissal of attempts to track down the World’s most wanted terrorist responsible for thousands of American lives lost, the Patriot Act, the 20% increase in those living without insurance, the drop in median incomes, the rise in child poverty.

Republicans do threaten to shut down government over: Insurance for kids with pre-existing conditions.
Good job Republicans. Good job.

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E.ONs misleading response to Miliband.

September 25, 2013

In August 2013, E.ON Energy saw profits jump 14.7%, with their profit margin rising to 6.25% from 5.97% after price hikes of 8.7% for duel fuel customers. In the winter – the time when people struggle the most to pay their fuel bills, and in the middle of economic downturn – E.ON decided to put their prices up. They then claimed the profit increase was due to the cold weather….. in winter….. after they put their prices up. Seriously. Remember that when you read E.ON insisting that government programmes are to blame for customers paying more.

When reading E.ONs response, keep in mind that the Big Six netted the following profits collectively since 2009:
2009: £2.15bn
2010: £2.22bn
2011: £3.87bn
2012: £3.74bn
Over £1.5bn more in 2012, than 2009. They managed this during a period of economic stagnation, unemployment, and households struggling to put food on their tables, the big six were happily swimming in pools of profit. Remember that, when you read E.ON insisting that government programmes are to blame for customers paying more.

We can say for certain that Ed Miliband has finally struck the right chord, when energy companies who have seemingly experienced complete impunity with their mistreatment of the entire country for far too long, start to throw their toys out of the pram. Today was E.ON’s turn to act the spoilt brat. We must remember that, like the banks insistence that all the best people would leave the UK if the financial sector was in any way regulated for bringing down the entire system…. energy companies will start insisting that the UK will suffer intense blackouts, if we dare to put the breaks on their exploitation. Threats are worthless, and should not factor into discussion.

Labour’s plan isn’t just a price freeze until the end of 2017, but also the breakup of the big six to ensure a more competitive environment not dominated by what is becoming increasingly clear as a monopoly; and a new regulatory body to ensure necessary investment in greener technology. A completely new energy market. This is absolutely necessary. Centrica’s boss predictably reacted by suggesting that more competition, would lead to economic ruin. The spirit of Capitali….oh wait.

In response to Milibands speech, and the full Labour plan, E.ON UK released this press release, predictably not happy that their gravy train may now be coming to a end. Only an energy company could endeavour to write one long, deluded and manipulative piece that can be summed up with simply: we love our customers that much that despite their struggles in this tough time, we want to keep raising the price of their bills without consequence.

First thing to note is that E.ON are rather adept at misleading responses to customer’s worries. When asked about January 2013 price hikes, E.ON said this:

“Some 16 months after our last price increase, and almost a year since we actually cut our electricity prices, we have had to make the difficult decision to increase our prices in January.”

– A cut? That sounds like customers saved money over the previous year! Well, no. It’s a misleading statement to say the very very least. Which.co.uk provided this graph to show E.ON price hikes over the past three years:
eon
– Dropping £30, after a £160 increase, followed by another £100 increase, and (the graph doesn’t give 2013 date) a further increase of £110 for 2013…. does not in anyway represent a “cut”. The average household energy bill will now be 23% higher than in 2011. E.ON will now be the most expensive for average household energy bills, of all the big six, and £18 higher than the Big Six average. In 2012 the energy watchdog noted that the average annual profit margins per customer for the big six energy companies had risen to £125 in October, from just £15 in June.

In the press release today, E.ON boss Tony Cocker says:

“Let me start out by making clear where we absolutely agree. Our customers are the most important people in the world.”

– So much do customers mean to E.ON, that they rose their prices by over 8% for the first half of the year, increasing their profit margins, whilst knowing that customers would be needing to heat their homes during the cold winter months and in the middle of an economic downturn. So much are customers ‘the most important people in the World’, that Cocker goes on to spend the next 800+ words of the press release arguing his case for continued price hikes that his customers are struggling to afford.

Quick stat: Between 2005 and 2010, energy prices increased 57%:
chart1r2
– There is no positive outcome, is this trend continues. Everyone suffers unless those bars start to fall. E.ON cannot manipulate their way out of that responsibility. What we can deduce from E.ONs angry response to the Labour’s price freeze idea, is that E.ON intend to make those bars keep rising, until at least 2017.

In 2009 The Independent reported that whilst wholesale gas prices had halved, bills had fallen by just 4%. It took campaigns by newspapers, and grassroots groups to convince people to shop around, after discovering that the Big 6 were charging almost £200. The Independent noted:

“Quarterly and pre-payment customers who switch to Ovo or First:Utility would save £287.”

The Energy Contract Company, an independent energy forcaster said:

“The fall in spot prices has meant the domestic market is now highly profitable”.

– E.ON knew what it was doing. They knew that people were struggling, and that energy bills were one main reason, and they did nothing. But then, how else would they pay for E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen’s £3.6mn in salary and bonuses for 2011?

“You’ve called for us to be fair and reasonable in our pricing and our profit levels. We already are.”

– This is an opinion. I do not believe it fair to inflate prices during the coldest months, and during economic stagnation, knowing people are struggling, and forcing the most vulnerable into further hardship and debt, whilst profits soar. The Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) Project, in March, published its report into poverty in the UK. The report – ‘The Impoverishment of the UK‘ – found that one in three people couldn’t afford to adequately heat their homes throughout the winter in 2012.
Save The Children reported that families are going without food, to stop getting into debt over energy bills they cannot afford. This must be what E.ON believes is “fair and reasonable”.

“Read the letters from customers telling us of the difference to their lives, not just their homes, that the insulation we put in has made. Meet our customers at our Open House store in the middle of Nottingham who value and appreciate the extra help our people have given.”

– Why are we even discussing this? Everything is great! It’s like being mugged for £10, and then given £1 and the mugger telling you that he’s only trying to help.

Mr Cocker then writes:

“What do I mean by political programmes? Successive governments have collected taxes for different schemes through energy bills and this has added extra pressure and is a factor in why bills have risen over a sustained period of time. All politicians, from all sides, need to acknowledge that fact. At a stroke you could remove a large cost from energy bills simply by moving these costs to general taxation.”

– This is the crux of the entire press release. It is one big “tax us less, and we might consider not leaving pensioners to rot in fuel poverty. Deal?” And whilst we’re at it…. General taxation. Take the ‘burden’ away from massive profit making companies that pay their CEO’s extortionate bonuses, and onto the general public who are already seeing incomes drop? And what should those taxes be used for?…..

“So I’m asking all politicians: Help me to get Smart meters into more homes more quickly. Help me to get British homes up to a modern, energy efficient standard. Help me to get UK businesses on top of their energy use.”

…. of course. Those general taxes should go to E.ON! They want to pay nothing, and reap the benefits of everyone else paying. They don’t want a more competitive environment, they want the government to help their own company get ahead. What Mr Cocker is admitting here, is that despite vast profits, they are still unwilling to do anything to help bring your bills down, without government subsidies. A failing sector. More competition is absolutely vital. Force them to act for the benefit of their customers, through well regulated competition.

If successive government programmes were in fact responsible for much of the size of an energy bill… then it stands to reason that E.ONs profits should be at best flatlining, rather than skyrocketing. There would be no 14% profit jump. Government programmes have apparently been that restrictive on an incredibly small number of energy companies, that in 2012, they still managed to net £3.74bn between them, according to the regulator. How terrible!

Mr Cocker writes:

“Of course there are people who need our help and yes, there are a few we’ve let down but we have, and we are, making the changes needed to get things right: Simpler bills, clearer products, changes for businesses. Of course we need to rebuild trust with our customers, and reset our relationship. We acknowledge that, we have made changes, and we are making changes.”

– I’d like him to elaborate on who he thinks he’s let down? Perhaps the 100,000 former customer they overcharged for switching to a different provider, and which took the regulator to investigate and actually force E.ON to act? And when they speak of the changes that they are making…. how many of those were not forced upon them when it became clear that E.ON and other energy companies were ripping customers off at every possible opportunity? Clearer products – forced. Simpler bills – forced. Ed Davey insisted that the energy companies and the government were working to make bills more transparent. The fact that the government had to get involved and energy companies weren’t willing to make bills transparent in the first place, is a problem. You do not ‘rebuild trust’ by claiming to be fixing the problems of your own generous, good will, when in fact, you were forced. And until they’re forced to bring down energy prices, they will continue to manipulate, blame everyone else; usually government, kick and scream, and then eventually give in and accept that ‘we need to rebuild trust’.

Gas and electricity isn’t a commodity like any other. It is a necessity for most. It can be the difference between life and death, and therefore energy companies must put people before shareholders. They sell an extraordinary product that cannot be allowed to reap great profits for companies at the continued expense of the lives and finances of the public. During economic downturns, if the price of energy is causing economic pain across the country, then I would suggest that energy and gas profits should be minimal. This is not like selling jam, or Xbox games, or football shirts. If profits soar, whilst fuel poverty soars, something is deeply flawed, and the market is broken. E.ON call this “reasonable and fair”. Right there, is the problem. They see no problem.

And as I noted previously, we can deduce from E.ONs angry response, that they have every intention of rising prices over the next five years; the same period of time that the Chancellor announced austerity will now last until. The hardship and the economic pain will only continue, prices will rise, there will still be a lack of competition, and that’s what E.ONs press release argues for.

So, they don’t control much of the price, the government are to blame for the majority of the Bill, and they want the public to be taxed more to pay for their lack of investment? Why not just renationalise gas and electricity? I see no use for these big six companies any more. And judging by his statement today, neither does Tony Cocker. He doesn’t seem to see any issue whatsoever. For Cocker, they cannot afford to modernise, without government help, and according to Cocker, all the problems can be fixed by taxing them less, and taxing people more to fund E.ON. So why not just cut out the middle man? They were given a chance, they enriched themselves, and immiserated everyone else, whilst calling it ‘fair and reasonable’. Nationalise them.


Ted Cruz: One Man Death Panel.

September 25, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Ted Cruz  Uploaded by AlbertHerring).

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Ted Cruz Uploaded by AlbertHerring).

It’s been a strange week to view US politics. The Tea Party; a group that consists of about five men, waving Confederate flags, and insisting that anything slightly Left of Mussolini is a communist plot, seem to be holding their party, and the country to ransom.

Like most nights Canadian born (which strangely, birthers seem not too fussed with) Ted Cruz spends not filibustering anything, he spent last night, not filibustering anything, but performing a filibuster anyway. After vowing to stand and talk until he couldn’t talk any more (though taking a break after an hour) he’s doing the same thing today. And when he’s asleep tonight, he will also not be filibustering anything in much the same way, though he wont have the distinct enjoyment he gets from the sound of his own voice. Like their redefinition of the word ‘Marxist’, The Republicans have redefined the word ‘filibuster’ to mean; speaking aimlessly for quite a long time. And the more he speaks, the more myths he throws to be knocked out of the park, like the World’s worst pitcher. Incidentally, I deal with debunking three Obamacare myths here.

It is indeed ironic for a Party apparently calling itself “Republican” to be attempting to close down the entire Government despite losing the Presidential election twice in a row, losing the Senate, losing the popular vote for the House, and their share of the vote falling for both legislature elections. A minority sect, of a minority Party appears to believe it rules the Country. How un-democratic, and how tyrannus.

Whilst Cruz compared his ‘struggle’ to prevent millions of children from being insured, and women from accessing preventative care, to the sruggle to beat the Nazis, and the struggle for American Independence, we must ask; What are Ted “Mr Over Dramatic” Cruz’s credentials when it comes to the health and well being of Americans? Well, as it turns out, not so good.

Ted Cruz & Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week:
In March this year Cruz registered his opposition to the ceremonial, routine Senate resolution commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. The excuse pushed by his staff was:

“The Senator, like many of his colleagues, will not grant consent to call up and pass a resolution or bill at the last minute without time for review,”

– The time given, was just under 48 hours. Two days. So, given Cruz’s complaint, we’d expect the Bill for this routine Senate resolution to have far too many words for a Senator and his staff to read over in just 48 hours? Well, no. House Resolution 95 has less than 700 words. Actually, when you take out the introductory paragraph and focus on the substance, it comes to 568 words. That’s a little over 150 words more than you’ve currently read of this article so far.
So if we put aside that ridiculous excuse from Cruz’s staff, and look at the Bill, we may be able to see the real issue Cruz has with accepting it. And it doesn’t take long before we reach:

“(6) recognizes and reaffirms the Nation’s commitment to ending multiple sclerosis by promoting awareness about people that are affected with multiple sclerosis and by promoting new education programs, supporting research, and expanding access to medical treatment.”

– This might go some way to explaining why Politico referenced a Democratic staffer who told them that the reason Ted Cruz opposed the MS Bill, was:

“He was unhappy with a clause in the resolution describing the purpose of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition.”

– Could it have been the clause that seeks to help expand access to medical treatment for those with Multiple Sclerosis? Judging by his current behaviour, I’d find it difficult to pinpoint another clause in the Bill that he might have issues with.

Ted Cruz & Hurricane Sandy:
Ted Cruz rightfully demanded Federal aid in the aftermath of the West Fertilizer Company explosion in West Texas in April. Though he failed to accept that weak regulations lead to this plant running for years without a pollution permit; thus leading to Cruz having to ask the taxpayer to bail out failed deregulation policies and the irresponsibility of a private company. This came six months after the same Ted Cruz announced his opposition to the Sandy Relief Fund. His excuse was disastrous:

“Two thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.”

– This isn’t exactly true. Short term aid or “emergency” aid accounts for 40% of the money spent. The rest was indeed for longer term relief. I see no problem with that. For example, $5.3 was set aside for funding projects “related to reducing risk of damage from future disasters.” For that, Cruz voted against all funding for Sandy relief, including emergency food supplies. This is not a man who cares about people.
Other Republicans stood against the relief fund for the victims of the superstorm, because it was a Bill ‘laden with pork’. What Republicans didn’t like to tell people, is that the ‘pork’ was actually aimed at winning over Republicans, in Red States, with funds for Red States, to ensure a filibuster proof bill, as pointed out by Rick Ungar writing in Forbes. This is the result of Republican derailing attempts at every possible turn, to the point where even relief for victims of a horror storm, aren’t enough to warrant help according to Republicans. Interestingly, the relief fund for the West Texas explosion, didn’t require bribing Blue States to ensure its funding.

Ted Cruz & Mental Health:
When it comes to mental health, Cruz is astonishingly inconsistent with his underlying values. When it comes to a database of gun owners, Cruz is quite clear:

“I don’t think the Federal Government has any business having a list of law abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”

– Law abiding citizens being the key phrase to this, because when asked about the database, Cruz called for the strengthening of a Federal ‘list’ of law abiding citizens who wish to own guns, who happen to have mental health issues:

“Right now a lot of states, a lot of local jurisdictions, are not reporting criminal convictions, not reporting mental health barriers to ownership. And so the federal database is not nearly as good as it should be. That would be a common-sense improvement.”

– We can deduce from these two quotes, that Cruz believes ‘law abiding’ does not apply to anyone with a mental health issue.

Ted Cruz & Uninsured Children in his own State:
According to the 2012 American Community Survey, Ted Cruz’s State of Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the entire Country. But even more horrifically, is that whilst Ted Cruz works to block a Bill that will cover millions more children…. his own State has the highest number of uninsured children in the Country. A status quo that Ted Cruz is currently fighting to protect, in what can only be deemed to be a bid for the White House in 2016. More than 852,000 Texas children did not have health insurance in 2012. As Senator, what is Ted Cruz doing to put an immediate stop to this tragedy? Did Cruz use his fake-filibuster to argue for higher rates of employer-sponsored coverage? No. Did he use his fake-filibuster to talk at all about the tragedy of uninsured children in his own state? No. Did he even spend any of the 18 hour fake-filibuster to offer an alternative plan to cover those in desperate need of coverage? No. Instead he read Dr.Seuss (who, ironically, was very liberal, and very Democrat). Cruz should be ashamed of his record, ashamed of the state of Texas for its unacceptable treatment of children, and for offering nothing to correct it.

Ted Cruz & Violence Against Women:
Of the 100 Senators, Ted Cruz was only one of eight who voted No on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act. On voting No, Cruz issued this statement:

“He (Senator Cruz) voted against this federal law because stopping and punishing violent criminals is primarily a state responsibility, and the federal government does not need to be dictating state criminal law.”

– Cruz here defining his objection to the Federal Government meddling in State’s affairs. And yet, Cruz openly supports the Federal Government defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Like most Tea Party Republicans, he abhors ‘big government’ when it doesn’t meet his set of values, and fully endorses big government when it’s aimed at gay people. So when it comes to the VAWA opposition, we of course get a subtle answer from Cruz (he’s setting himself up for a Presidential run, afterall), but we get a much more candid answer from less ambitious members of Congress like the horrendously ignorant and bigoted Steve Stockman, who registered his opposition to the VAWA in a way we all know that Cruz agrees with:

“This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

– Ted Cruz similar announced his arrival on the homophobic scene by opposing ex-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s attendance at a gay pride march. Cruz said:

“When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that’s a statement and it’s not a statement I agree with.”

– What statement is he making? That it’s absolutely fine to be gay, and open about it? That gay people are citizens whose rights are not to be decided upon by dictatorial, Republican men? What does Cruz object to here?

When a Party loses the Presidency, loses the Senate, loses the popular vote for the House, I’d suggest being a little more humble, accepting that the American people don’t want you controlling anything, and stop trying to hold the entire Country to ransom for the sake of one man’s egotistical attempts to set himself up for a Presidential run in 2016. And when that Presidential run is more important to that man, than a generation of vulnerable, uninsured children…. it’s time to question who you choose to elect to positions of power.


The Republican Party: Wealth before Health.

September 20, 2013

Earlier this month a booth at the Kentucky State Fair offered people the chance to sign up to ‘Kynect’ the new healthcare coverage facility for Kentucky. It was an incredibly popular booth, with one Republican gentleman who was told he would qualify for tax credits to purchase insurance, commenting:

“This beats Obamacare, I hope.”

– What he didn’t realise, due to all the misinformation and complete myths invented by the Republicans over the past two years…. Kynect is a part of ‘Obamacare’.

Today, very wealthy, insured Republicans in the House voted to make certain that the most vulnerable, uninsured, struggling people – including children – cannot get access to affordable healthcare. They voted to ensure that women cannot get access to preventative care. These are the same Republicans who also voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and against Veterans jobs bills, but voted to continue tax breaks for big oil. This is the Republican Party in the 21st Century.

After the House vote, Speaker John Boehner said:

“The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare”.

– John Boehner, heroically defending democratic accountability. Well, not so much. If he is to insist that he cares deeply for the will of the American people, he should perhaps take a look at how those people voted in 2012:

For the Presidency 2012:
Democrats: 65,915,796
Republicans: 60,933,500

For the House 2012:
Democrats: 60,252,696
Republicans: 58,541,130
Republican vote down by 4.8%

For the Senate 2012:
Democrats: 49,998,693
Republicans: 39,130,984
Republican vote down by 7.3%

– In each case, the American people did not want the Republicans to have the power that they currently have. So perhaps the Speaker of the House should pay attention to his own logic, and stop wielding undemocratic power. If your Party lost the popular vote for the two branches of elected power… be a little humble, rather than trying to control the entire country. The only reason the government will be shut down, is if one Party that did not win the popular vote for any branch of power continues its spree of blackmail.

According to a Harvard Study in 2009, 45,000 annual deaths are connected to a lack of healthcare coverage. It further notes that lack of insurance now kills more people than kidney disease. Today, Republicans voted to ensure the apparently very important freedom to lose everything you have if you get cancer, and then to die bankrupt. Republican supporters are out in force hailing their victory:

Untitled-1

There are two Tea Party-esque contentions that appear in most anti-Obamcare arguments. Firstly, that the Affordable Care Act is inherently “Marxist”, and secondly, the Affordable Care Act is government compulsion and therefore, tyrannical. Both are supremely over dramatic, that you begin to wonder who takes it seriously. Especially given that the Affordable Care Act is based largely on a Republican law implemented (and working great) in Massachusetts. Myths have been invented by the Republicans, that are easily discredited. I discredit three Affordable Care Act myths here. All completely over-dramatic and over simplified. But, given that the House is currently controlled by the most over-dramatic faction of one Party (but still didn’t win the popular vote), it must be taken seriously.

It is the first time I have heard the making certain that people purchase Capitalist health insurance, from Capitalists, with money that will go to Capitalist hospitals and corporations, described as Marxist. I can say with much confidence that Marx might have disagreed with this contention a little. Unless I missed the part where the Affordable Care Act calls for worker control of the means of production and distribution, the end of the wage system, and abolition of private property, and profit…. it isn’t Marxism.
The Founders recognised the importance of a healthy population, and the role government can play in ensuring that. By Tea Party logic, The Congress of 1798, under the Presidency of John Adams were Marxists. That particular Congress & President signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” Article 1 referring to the private owners of ships and vessels:

“..and he shall pay, to the said collector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every seaman so employed ; which sum he is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.”

– This act created government run hospitals for privately employed sailors, paid for by a mandatory (compulsory, or “Marxist” if you’re a member of the Tea Party) tax on sailors. Not only do we have one Founder – the President – signing off on a government run healthcare program, but another Founder, Thomas Jefferson was President of the Senate at this point, and so we can reasonably assume that both Jefferson and Adams had no problem with government running healthcare programs, paid for by a mandatory tax, that sailors had no choice but to pay.

The second contention has a little more to it, though is still wildly off the mark and deeply flawed in its premise. The contention being, that Obamacare is government compulsion, and that regardless of the context, government compulsion is “tyranny”. This would of course mean that any form of government interference is ‘tyranny’; medicare, public funded schools, public funded roads, public funded police & fire. All of which paid for, whether the individual wishes to or not. Will Republicans be insisting that these are also “Marxist” in need of defunding? What about the Advanced Technology Program, and other taxpayer funded programs to subsidise business? Will Republicans be voting to repeal these?

The Federal agency; Export-Import Bank loaned $2.5 billion to General Electric at a time when the company reduced the size of its workforce by over 200,000 American jobs, and shipped more abroad. The same is true of General Motors. And of course, thanks to tax breaks for big oil, those companies can afford to fund the vote of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who unsurprisingly votes in their favour every time. See here. Did taxpayers get a say on this? No. Has this Republican House voted to end any sort of Corporate welfare? No. They are instead completely focused on ensuring the women cannot access preventative care, that children with pre-existing conditions continue to be left to suffer.

Curiously, one Republican who objects to the ‘compulsion’ element of the Affordable Care Act, is Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker. This, despite the fact that Walker signed into law a Bill that forces a woman who wishes to have an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound, for no medical purpose, whether she wants it or not. The Republicans; keep government out of everything…. except a woman’s virgina, obviously.

A program should be judged on its effectiveness, and its results. Is Obamacare compulsion? Yes. But so is government in general, so is Social Security, so is Medicare, so is fire protection, defence spending, policing, public schools and roads. There is no reason why healthcare should not be considered a protection in much the same way as fire and police. Context is required for each situation. Simply yelling “compulsion!” isn’t good enough.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, the system disincentivised those less wealthy, but who wished to start their own business, through fear of losing health coverage. It just wasn’t worth the risk. The tyranny of health insurance. But now, according to the Urban Institute, those wishing to leave their work and start a business have far more incentive, and freedom to do so, because the Affordable Care Act will offer coverage starting in October that just didn’t exist before, and so far more people will have the incentive to self-employment, and wont be victimised for pre-existing conditions. It is already having a positive effect in Massachusetts. This is freedom enhancing, it is good for the economy, and the complete antithesis of Marxism.

Secondly, when the ‘choice’ is between ill health, or bankruptcy and poverty, it isn’t a choice. It is insurance company mandated poverty. Healthcare is not a commodity on a level equal to for example, a TV or phones or lemonade. Health is vital, it transcends economic and political systems, and is a necessity, not a luxury. If the government required you to buy a TV on threat of punishment, perhaps the case for “tyranny” may be a little stronger. What is far more tyrannical, is the influence of the compulsion for profit at the expense of the life of the person. What is more tyrannical, is the exclusion of vulnerable children from insurance, if it cuts into an insurance company’s profitability. There is no choice for those uninsured. Those children don’t have a choice. Those with pre-existing conditions didn’t have a choice. They aren’t choosing to remain uninsured and highly vulnerable, in the same way that someone has a choice between a Samsung phone, and a Sony phone. There are no benefits to being uninsured. It isn’t a free choice, it is putting your life completely at the mercy of financial circumstance. To pass it off as choice, or freedom, is incredibly insensitive to the struggles of those who suffered from being uninsured.

In lieu of a national healthcare system (which we in the UK are incredibly lucky to enjoy) Health insurance companies have a duty, far beyond private companies that make TVs or cars or guitars, to ensure the most affordable and satisfactory care possible; especially when it involves the most vulnerable including children and those with pre-existing conditions. They hold the lives of people in their company wallets. It is this duty that health insurers did not care too much for. It is a tyranny of profit.

It is the tyranny of profit in a sector that it should not be involved in. That tyranny of profit lead to horrendous insurance company abuses & the exclusion of those with pre-existing conditions. The tyranny of profit lead to companies ensuring they squeezed ordinary people for as much money as possible and offered very little coverage in return. The tyranny of profit lead to 60% of bankruptcies attributed to healthcare costs. The tyranny of profit meant that people suffered and died, because they could not afford insurance. The tyranny of profit lead to insurance companies denying children care…. children. The tyranny of profit ensured that on average insurance companies charged women 50% more than men for the same level of coverage. The tyranny of profit ensured insurance companies were not required to provide preventative care. The tyranny of profit lead to multiple family members suddenly seeing empty bank accounts, loss of homes, loss of hope, just to carry on being alive. And this isn’t compulsion to you? If a person cannot afford health insurance…. they have no choice if they suddenly get sick or injured. This isn’t a choice between what TV to own, this is a choice between suffering physically, or bankruptcy and poverty. That isn’t an acceptable choice. The tyranny of profit ensured this. Those 48 million uninsured did not choose to be uninsured. It wasn’t a well balanced, reasonably arrived at decision, it was compulsion. The tyranny already well established. The Affordable Care Act goes someway to addressing those inherent tyrannical flaws within the system; like prohibiting the truly vile practice of excluding children with pre-existing conditions. It has much further to go, until a universal healthcare system ensures coverage for all regardless of wealth; the mark of a civilised, decent, and caring society cannot be met by the tyranny of profit in a sector it doesn’t belong.

The President must step up and show leadership, because when it becomes clear that one extreme section of one Party is focussed entirely on attacking the President regardless of the outcome for Americans across the country; when that one extreme faction is willing to place the health of vulnerable children into the line of fire and smile whilst they watch the Country burn… the President is in a strong position to fight back.

The Republican Party did not win the Presidency, they did not win the Senate, they lost the popular vote for the House, they have no problem with corporate welfare, and they now vote not only to defund the Affordable Care Act, but to shut down government, unless their unelected demands are met. This undemocratic blackmail bought and owned by big business, is far more tyrannical than anything the Democrats could conceive.

The Republican Party: Of the Rich, By the Rich, For the Rich.


Yahwallahism & the Prophet Barbara.

September 19, 2013

If a woman – let’s call her Barbara – were to insist that God had chosen to speak to Her, and that through the Prophet Barbara we have the final Prophet of the one true God. But curiously, this new set of demands and doctrine from God – let’s call Her Yahwallah – gathered up all of the prejudices encouraged by the Abrahamic faiths, and turned them back on themselves?

And so, inspired by declarations like this…

Untitled-2

…I thought I’d give it a shot.

If we were to take the prejudices thrown at women, at homosexuality, at children, by powerful faiths and their followers who seek to enshrine those prejudices into law, and we were to aim those inherent faith-based prejudices back at those faiths, and we demanded society be organised by this new faith, how would Christians and Muslims react? How would the arguments against its adoption, or political power over their lives be formed? How would they prove the new scripture to be wrong? As of now, I will present a summary of the TRUE scripture of the one true God.

Let’s call the new scripture, the Book of Yahwallah. It was given to the Prophet Barbara, by an Angel of Yahwallah, and you can’t prove it wasn’t. Here is what the one true word of God says.

This new Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that “Muslims and Christians are unnatural, and an abomination, they must be punished”. Whenever evidence is presented to the contrary, you must point out that Yahwallahist scripture insists that these “people” are horrid sinners, an abomination, and destined for Hell. I don’t make the rules. This came from God. This should be instilled into the minds of Children. If then these children are bullied for secretly being Christian, or Muslim….. tough.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – has been interpreted to insist that Christians and Muslims should be banned from marriage. We therefore demand a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between non-christians and non-muslims only, this is the true and only definition of marriage before God. Any deviation from this, is an abomination, and influenced by Satan.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – should be used to defend Congressional votes against the right of Christians or Muslims to adopt a child, based not on their suitability as parents, but on whether or not they are Muslim or Christians, thus banning Muslims and Christians from being allowed to adopt. Children should be brought up in good, wholesome non-Christian, non-Muslim families. To bring them up in Christian or Muslim households, threatens their development.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – tells the story of Modos & Harromag; a City full of hedonistic Muslims and Christians. The merciful God destroyed that evil city. Let this be a lesson, that allowing sin – like Islam and Christianity – to flourish, will bring the fury of God. The war in Syria right now, is actually Yahwallah’s punishment for allowing Islam & Christianity to flourish.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that children not be forced to marry old men, but that those old men who advocate child marriage, now themselves be forced to marry sex-starved prison inmates. They have no choice in this.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that those who didn’t follow the words of the new one true Prophet Barbara, nor accept her as their personal saviour, and the rules she sets out, regardless of her historicity and the moral reasoning behind those rules, that those people will burn forever in eternal fire…this should be taught to children. Fear of Yahwallah will guide them.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – doesn’t go into detail when it comes to nuclear fission, or the physics of a black hole and event horizon, or evolution, or dinosaurs, or the speed of light…. because to be honest, it’s too busy condemning everyone who isn’t Yahwallahist…. but it does say “and we are all made up of small things”… clearly describing in perfect detail all known atomic theory. HOW COULD SHE HAVE KNOWN THIS WITHOUT GOD!!!! Truly miraculous. This MUST be taught in school science lessons.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – starts with the story of creation. The World was knitted by Yahwallah, in 5 days (far more impressive than 6), before She rested on the 6th, and that as a result, everyone should wear a knitted hat, and that this story of Intelligent Design should be taught in science class alongside pesky science and evidence. Teach the controversy!

Without the Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – you are morally inferior.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – makes clear that after a woman gives birth, the father is unclean. Also, Women, make sure your husbands (of which you can marry as many as you please) stay silent in Yahwallahist temples. For it is shameful for a man to speak in a temple.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – tells the story of the condemning to death of the Prophet Barbara, by Christians and Muslims. For this, Christians and Muslims must always be treated as suspicious, probably part of a global domination conspiracy, and must be thrown out of any land they rest, because they murdered the one true Prophet.

The punishment for apostasy from Yahwallahism is flogging. Though apostasy from Yahwallahism and then speaking out against Yahwallahism can only reasonably be solved by the death penalty.

Innocent children gunned down in schools must be the victim of the Government straying from the path of Yahwallah. We must use this opportunity not to call for tighter gun laws, but to call for more Yahwallah teaching in schools.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – makes clear that if a man disobeys his wife (she is the head of him), then she has permission to beat him. Good men are obedient. This is God’s truth.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – tells how when a man reaches the age of 1, he must have one testicle removed. He has no choice in this. Ignore those who call it forced genital mutilation. It isn’t. Because it pleases God.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that the one true Prophet Barbara was born in Jerusalem – the home of Yahwallahist, and it is where Prophet Barbara will return when Yahwallahism bring about Judgement day. It was here that the Prophet Barbara heard Yahwallah speak through an Angel. Yahwallah said “Barbara, Jerusalem is yours, for your faithful alone”. This of course means the land was divinely given to Yahwallahists, and so all Muslims and Jews must leave immediately, or face perpetual war until they accept that it is ours. Remember, we don’t make these rules, they came directly from God. Oh, the Prophet Barbara once flew during the night to London too, so we claim London as ours.

We support a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy on Christians in the Military, though we don’t think they should be allowed to fight alongside true American Yahwallahists, because they’re an abomination. For this reason, and because kids are vulnerable, we believe Christians shouldn’t be allowed in the Boy Scouts of America. Words of the scripture, not me.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – tells how the Prophet Barbara gave unbelievers (let’s call them “rifak”; they are Muslims and Christians) the chance to convert to Yahwallahism. But they insisted on worshipping false idols, and so the Prophet Barbara obviously had to go to war with them and slay them. So, never trust, nor imitate the rifak. They are immodest, liars who wish to pull you away from the one true God. They do the work of Satan. They will be punished in hell.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that the Yahwallahist Scripture is really well written, and you can’t produce anything like it, and so it must be a miracle, because the Yahwallahist Scripture and people who are Yahwallahists say so. To further back up this self evident TRUTH, the Yahwallahist Scripture constantly says: “Yahwallah sent this down from heaven, and Barbara is the Prophet of the Lord”, so it must be true. How can the rifak deny it?

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that the witness of a man is half that of a woman. That a man must cover his entire body and face to protect his modesty, that if he doesn’t he must bear some responsibility if he’s sexually assaulted, and that a man not be allowed out of the house without a female chaperone. This is an example of the wonderful rights we have given to men everywhere! Far more so than the oppressive West.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – insists that the phrase “One Nation under Yahwallah” be inserted into the US Pledge of Allegience, rather than the current focus on the wrong non-existent God. We also call for mandatory school Yahwallahist prayer.

The Yahwallahist Scripture – direct from God – tells the story of the death of Prophet Barbara. She died to save you all from hell fire. All you have to do is discard belief in Allah or Jesus, and believe in the true God Yahwallah and his one true Prophet, Barbara. If you don’t, you’re destined for hell. This message of hope must be spread and forced upon populations where ever possible.

If Muslims or Christians ‘offend’ the Prophet Barbara, or this new scripture of anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-men doctrine, they must be punished. No one has a right to say anything negative about this scripture that insists Christians and Muslims are an unnatural abomination. You don’t have to believe it, but freedom of expression does not cover disrespecting a religion that thoroughly disrespects you. Deal with it.

To challenge any of the above, or to thoroughly despise any of the above, and to call out the oppression inherent to any of the above, or to suggest that this one scripture permits both prejudice and the acceptability and perpetuation of prejudicial language…. at best you will told you are just being Yahwallahophobic, at worst you will be threatened, or punished for blasphemy.

When you understand the oppressive structure set out above toward Christians, Muslims, and men, and the quite obvious absurd risks that come from teaching it to children as fact; when you understand that it is not acceptable to hide unjustifiable prejudice and privilege behind the mask of faith, as I would be doing if I were to claim all Christians are an abomination destined for hell based on my new Yahwallah scripture…. when you understand this, you will understand why non-believers find Christianity and Islam so dangerous and oppressive.


Painting Congress Blue 2014: Focus on Candidates IV.

September 18, 2013

wisconsin

Seventeen. That is the number of seats Democrats need to pick up in the House to ensure a majority in 2014. It would be a post WWII mid-term record, for the President’s party to pick up that many seats in the House. It has only happened twice before, and the record was set by Republicans who picked up 8 seats in President Bush’s 2002 midterm. So for Democrats to more than double that record, is quite a battle. But not impossible.

The reason the party in the White House tends to lose seats, or gain few seats in the mid-terms is usually down to their supporters not turning out to express satisfaction with the party, whilst the opposition voters turn out to express dissatisfaction. But this mid-term is a little different. At the 2012 election, Republicans lost the national vote in the House by 1.4 million votes, only managing to hold the House due to redistricting. Democrats easily won the national vote. The Republican vote was down by 4.8%, with the Democrats up by 3.4%. Redistricting makes it difficult for Democrats to pick up 17 seats, but with Congressional approval ratings at an all time low, the Republicans offending everyone they possibly can on their journey to far reaches of the right wing, this election will come down to candidates. And so this is part IV of a series focusing on one particular Congressional race that Democrats – though difficult – need to win.

Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District:
Dave Heaster has a mountain to climb if he is to claim Wisconsin’s 5th from Republican incumbent Jim Sensenbrenner. Heaster won 32% of the vote in 2012, to Sensenbrenner’s 68%. But Sensenbrenner has a voting record, and positions, that is in keeping with the Tea Party take over of the Republican Party in the second decade of the 21st Century, and should be drawn upon strongly by the Heaster team if it is to win the seat in 2014.

Heaster supports campaign finance reform (opposed by Republicans; mainly due to who it is that actually funds them) and believes the government should not legislate against a woman’s right to her own body. The “small government” Sensenbrenner disagrees, and is one of those Elephants in the womb. It’s a curious paradox for 21st Century Tea Party Republicans; small government seems to only apply when it’s for the benefit of of white, Christian, wealthy men, and support for big government for everyone else… as we’ll see in this article.

Earlier this year, Sensenbrenner released this press release.
Importantly, it reads:

“Not coincidentally, 75% of the towers the Obama administration is closing are located in Republican Congressional Districts”.

– This is in relation to the 149 Air Traffic Control towers closing due to sequestration cuts. The implication being, that the Obama administration is playing politics with passenger safety, and jobs. The problem is, the claim is completely untrue. Just invented. No substance whatsoever. Apart from the couple that are inbetween Congressional districts, 58% are in Republican districts, and 42% in Democrat districts. Republicans hold about 52% of Congressional seats. 58% is significantly lower than 75%, and as Politifact point out; many of those affected are in rural areas, which lean Republican.
There is no reason to claim this is at all politically motivated.

In an article to the Guardian earlier this year, Sensenbrenner on the NSA scandal:

“‘Big Brother’ is watching. And he is monitoring the phone calls and digital communications of every American, as well as of any foreigners who make or receive calls to or from the United States.”

– Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Patriot Act to the House. This includes section 215, which sets out what the FBI Director can apply to obtain without a warrant. These are set out as “tangible things” such as:

“books, records, papers, documents, and other items”

It also provides a gagging order for absolute secrecy, meaning that the government can demand your details, conversations and records, without your knowledge, from third parties who don’t have to inform you, as long as FISA grants it. None of this is new to the Obama Administration:

“No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section”.

– Apart from being a complete disregard for the Fourth Amendment, the leaked Prism documents show the NSA really jumped on board with what falls under “tangible things” and “other items” to include videos, photos, emails, VOIP. The spying hasn’t suddenly appeared under President Obama. Between 2001, and 2005, no one said a word. The ACLU made their case against government agency spying, but Republicans at large kept quiet. So why the outrage now? It is the inevitable product of the Big Brother Patriot Act introduced into the House by Jim Sensenbrenner. The power Sensenbrenner was willing to provide the Bush administration, he now ironically claims is an example of the Obama Administration’s style of big government abuse.

Jim Sensenbrenner is another old, rich Republican male who voted no to reauthorise the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans argued that the law represented a “feminist attack” against family values. Before the Violence Against Women Act, there was little incentive for women to report domestic abuse. The 1994 Act changed that, and has worked ever since. This year, House Republicans let it die, because it included protections for the LGBT community, Native American women, and undocumented female workers. All three of these groups are incredibly vulnerable to abuse, with 40% of Native American women facing domestic violence. The new provisions seeked to address those problems. House Republicans didn’t approve. All women suffer as a result of Republican bigoted, anti-women principles. Sensenbrenner is one of those.

As the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, Sensenbrenner chose to ignore the scientific consensus and vast evidence produced and supported by agencies all across the World, deciding instead to side with faith, and big business. Two entities that should not be allowed anywhere close to scientific policy. He Voted NO on expanding vital, life saving research to more embryonic stem cell lines. He Voted Yes on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. Voted No on tax incentives for renewable energy, whilst voting to sustain Federal subsidies for oil & gas exploration. If anything, he has voted to keep science out of policy.

Sensenbrenner is a Republican who decries “Big government” when it suits his debating point, but he voted for the biggest government intrusion into the private lives of individuals possible. He voted for a Constitutional Amendment, banning same sex marriage, and he voted to ban same-sex adoption. Neither of those positions are based on evidence or reason, but on religious conviction alone. In fact, there is absolutely no reasonable excuse to oppose same-sex adoption. The position taken up for opposing same-sex adoption is almost always based on the idea that a child requires a mother and father and anything else is damaging. This of course, isn’t borne out by facts, or any credible research.

It isn’t loving families that happen to be same-sex, that harm a child’s development; it is lack of opportunity, and perpetual poverty. Sensenbrenner voted to authorise the Bush Tax Cuts, which resulted in the median income falling from $52,500 in 2000 (inflation adjusted) to $50,303 in 2008. In 2000, 31.6 million Americans were living in poverty. When Bush left office, 39.8 million were in poverty.
During the 2012 ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations, the House Republicans passed 39.8 million DOA Plan B 215-209-1. This Bill didn’t make it to the Senate, but its interesting to note that the proposal from Boehner, included throwing 300,000 children off of food stamps, whilst the Tax Policy Center found that the same proposal offered an average $108,000 tax cut for millionaires, in a typical Republican move to redistribute wealth upwards, whilst endangering and impoverishing the lives of children. If you believe that having same-sex parents is more damaging to child than pushing their head under a sea of poverty, for the sake of wealthy tax breaks, then go ahead and vote Jim Sensenbrenner.

This represents an attempt to smash down the Constitutional wall of separation between church & state, but also to place government right in the centre of the private lives of anyone who isn’t considered the “correct” sexuality by religious fundamentalists, whilst limiting the amount of loving and caring parents available for children in desperate need of adoption.

Sensenbrenner not only has no problem with violence against women, but he has no problem with violence against gay people, having voted No to enforce against anti-gay hate crime.

On jobs, Sensenbrenner voted No on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. He believes a company should be allowed to refuse to hire you based solely on who you’re attracted to in your private life. Your ability to do the job is irrelevant to Sensenbrenner, if you happen to be gay. It’s what Jesus wants.

If you’re middle or working class, and worried about job security, then it’s probably best not to vote Republican. Sensenbrenner voted No on any assistance provided to you if you lose your job due to jobs being shipped abroad.

And whilst he currently makes headlines trying to appear as if he cares for minorities affected by the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down a key section of the Voting Rights Act; let’s not forget that Jim Sensenbrenner voted Yes to require voters produce a photo ID in Federal elections, voted No on $84 million in grants for struggling Black and Hispanic colleges whilst voting Yes to Federal funding of schools that allow voluntary prayer, and received only 33% approval rating by the NAACP. Jim Sensenbrenner is no supporter of minority rights; be they gay rights, women’s rights, African American rights. He will use the power of government to ensure perpetuated privilege for white, heterosexual, Christian men.

It is of course no surprise that Rolling Stone refer to him as “The Dictator”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in July 2012 Heaster had about $500 in hand for his campaign, to Sensenbrenner’s staggering $350,000. So the outcome of 32% to 67% was not a shock. Hopefully Heaster can turn those fortunes around in 2014 and defeat the big government, anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-science, anti-children, anti-middle class, pro-Corporate socialism Jim Sensenbrenner.

Vote Dave Heaster for Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District in 2014.

See here for FD’s focus on Florida’s 2nd, and Illinois’ 13th Congressional Districts.
See here for FD’s focus on West Virginia’s 2nd, and Colorado’s 6th Congressional Districts.
See here for FD’s focus on California’s 1st, and California’s 25th Congressional Districts.


Bad Day for Bigots IV: Miss Murca!!!

September 16, 2013

Right winged America entered a new round of hysteria and delusion last night, at the crowing of Nina Davuluri as Miss America 2013. Nina was born in Syracuse New York, is applying to Medical school, and wishes to become a doctor. What could right winged America possibly have to hate? Well, she has darker skin. That’s enough to send the right winged Twittersphere into meltdown:

beau

jakefrazier

jakeknight
– Make sure no one mentions to this guy, that the NFL has several foreign born players, and several Muslim players. It’ll ruin his entire life.

jasonmc

kyle

nickratz
– I love the implication that the only two positions in America capable of progressing the entire nation, is the President, closely followed by Miss America.

southern
– This is otherwise known as the Republican National Convention.

sweedy

troyprice

wendy

-Yes! Exactly! It’s rigged because someone white didn’t win, because, like, 9/11!

todd

– Narrowing the acceptable field down, from white….. to white, with a gun. Brilliant. I bet Miss Kansas also recites the Pledge every morning. ‘MERCA!

michaeltaylor

– Famously, New York is in the Arabian peninsula.

I am certain we are one step away from Michelle Bachmann insisting that Miss America is now fully under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. I am surprised that Louie Gohmert hasn’t yet claimed that Nina Davuluri is one of the “terrorist babies” he’s been warning us all about.

If we have learnt anything from this charade, it is that 9/11 was carried out by Indian women born in New York, of Hindu descent, and that India & Syracuse have, between 9/11 and today, moved to the Arabian peninsula. But all joking aside, there is such a plethora of unacceptable, regressive, and vicious rhetoric within those tweets, that it’s difficult to know where to start. The reference to a woman from India as being a terrorist. The reference that if you’re Muslim, you must be a terrorist. The reference that if you’re a Muslim, or Hindu of Indian, or Arab descent; whether you’re born in the US or not, you’re not considered American, and that your skin tone is still to be taken into consideration.

The question must be asked, because the implication is apparent in their disdain for the winner; do conservative Americans believe only white, Christian Americans are to be considered ‘American’?

The clear irony in suggesting that someone who is not of the same religion as you, cannot be considered ‘American’ and musn’t be afforded the same opportunities as you, is that it is the most unamerican, anti-secular, anti-constitutional principle possible.