Thursday, December 16, 2010

Barack Obama, Best Republican President in the Last 30 Years?

I feel the need to apologize for the post I made back on 4 November, 2008.

Sorry, I was just giddy thinking that after eight years of George W. Bush the country was about to do a one eighty thanks to the fiery, young, go-getter we'd just elected as our President.  Is my face red!

I mean, the chance to be one of the really great ones was right there and if even an semi-literate country boy like me realized it, then surely the erudite, Harvard Lawyer would jump right on top of it.

Hell, all you had to do was to go after the Bush Administration to show the American People that shady goings-on, read that probable criminal activities/definite unethical actions, were not to be tolerated, even at the highest levels.  History backs this up, just look what happened because Tip O'Neill thought that the country didn't need an investigation into Iran/Contra, most of the crooks involved in that wound up in
W's administration, at least the ones that didn't have a job at Fox News.

OK, maybe Barack's just not as bloodthirsty as I am, maybe he just wants to show what a nice guy he is or maybe he just wants to show the Republicans that he is willing to work with the people who everyone knows have absolutely no intention of doing crap for him.  And to prove his good intentions he even waters down the Stimulus Package, the one thing that would create jobs and keep the economy ginning to get a little love from the Right.  Right.

But now it's time to finally catch America up with the rest of the civilized world and get universal health care.  Barack promptly sat on the sidelines and let conservative Democrats or Blue Dogs and Republicans draft the legislation while health industry financed "grassroots" Teabaggers to yell inanities and frame the argument.  So we got more of the same with minor improvements and major perks to the Health Insurance Industry.

Iraq and Afghanistan, the money hungry, unnecessary wars that should be history, ain't.  Guantanamo, yes, American justice for all, no.  Prisoner renditions and spying on American citizens still going on.

No doubt, except in Right Wing Fantasyland, Global Warming is the biggest problem facing the planet today, Barack talked the talk, however ...  Well, you know.

The biggest problem facing the country is the widening income gap between the incredibly wealthy and everybody else.  Honestly, you have to be Teabagger stupid not to understand that 1% of the population getting 24% of the income is a major economic problem, not for the 1%, of course.  Barack's solution? 
Keep shoveling the money to the top 2% like a Republican wet dream.

In his defense Obama knows where the real fault lies and he's not bashful about letting everyone know who's really at fault here.  Now think about this, it was the left that supported Obama, sent the money for his campaign and stood firm while the Right Wing Propaganda Machine lied about everything he was trying to do, the GOP and Blue Dogs on the Hill wouldn't lift a finger to pass good legislation, so naturally Obama rags on the left.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs scolded what he called "the professional left" for its vocal objections to President Barack Obama's record. "These people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality. They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president." Later, Gibbs said he had spoken "inartfully."

“This is the public-option debate all over again,” Mr. Obama complained, adding: “Now, if that’s the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then, let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are, and in the meantime, the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of pre-existing condition, or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out.”

Yeah, it kinda is the public-option debate all over again, I mean you pretty much whiffed on that one and we we're kinda hoping that you'd learned not to give up the farm for a crap piece of legislation and an illusional sense of accomplishment.

Actually, not getting anything done would be an improvement.  For those of us in the lower four quintiles going back to the pre-Bush tax cuts wouldn't be much of a stretch, hardly any of us noticed them and if it would help the deficit, then go for it.  But looking at the big picture here...

Sorry, 2005 was the best I could do, trust me those top lines have gone even higher in the last five years.

Take a look at how the lower four quintile's incomes have gone up maybe 20% and mostly less since 1980, while the top quintile went up close to 80%.  Now this top quintile was supposed to be creating jobs with those tax cuts and we all know how that worked out.

Now take a look at the top 1%, two freaking hundred percent increase in income and this has accomplished what?  An accumulation of this country's finite wealth in the hands of fewer people.  This is a policy that you want to continue, Mr. President?

I voted for change not lame and I the one who's supposed to be on top of this.  So I apologize for letting myself be fooled by another so-called Democrat who would seem to rather roll over than stand for principles.

BTW, unemployment benefits would have been extended regardless.  Hell, even the GOP knows what would happen to them if they put millions of Americans out on the street.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

100 Reasons Not To Vote For Dan Boren.

If you're a real Democrat here's 100 good reasons not to vote for Dan Boren.  Over just the last two years Dan has voted against his party 100 times, I don't know how you feel about your Democratic Congressman voting with the other side, but as far as I'm concerned I've already had way too much of our Republican Lite.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dan Boren Does It Again.

OK, so this is not about health care, but I've already used my favorite Blue Dog pic and I figured you could handle the extra information.

Besides, this is just an adjunct to the last post on Dan Boren, my Democratic Congressman who votes like a good Repubican.

Here's the latest from the man I personally heard say just the other day that he "votes for Oklahomans", yeah, I know, I gagged when I heard it. 

Anyway, he has just shown where he really stands when it comes to his vote.  Care to guess?  With Oklahomans (other than the Tea Party variety)?  With the Democrats?   With the People?  Or none of the above?

This morning at the Democratic caucus, the message from leadership to Blue Dogs unwilling to support a new campaign finance measure requiring more disclosure in political advertising -- wise up.

The bill -- a response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision -- passed this afternoon, 219-206. There were 36 Democrats -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Blue Dogs -- who voted against it. Many Blue Dogs feared retribution from the business community in an already tough election year if they had voted for the legislation.

So in a huddle with rank-and-file members this morning, Democratic leaders told Blue Dogs they should ignore threats from the bill's chief opponent, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber endorses the occasional Democrat, albeit infrequently, but leaders made the case that Blue Dogs aren't likely to be rewarded by the usually pro-GOP group for blocking the bill.

"The Chamber is playing hardball to derail this bill," a Democratic leadership aide told TPMDC. "Why give them an upper hand in elections by not forcing them to disclose who is funding their ads?"

Leaders also have been telling members privately they should be on the same side as President Obama, "not Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh," the aide said. The bill would require CEOs to stand by their ads, in addition to other transparency measures, and Democrats believe it will be an election-year victory to show that they side with the people while GOP tries to protect corporations.

Well, you have to give Dan credit for firmly standing by his $principles$.

Late Update: Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) is among the Blue Dogs to vote "Nay" today. He was endorsed by the chamber yesterday.
I have a lot to thank Dan for, George W. Bush used to practically write this blog for me and now there's another clueless Rightie to do my work for me.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dan Boren, Democrat? Not Really. Blue Dog? Oh, Yeah.

I first blogged about Dan Boren back in 2006, I was getting a little tired of my supposed Democratic Congressman voting with the Republicans.  Four years later nothing has changed.

You would think that even the folks who don't keep up with political goings on would have noticed something when Dan voted against the people in his district and for the Health Insurance Industry on health care reform.  Dan's going to vote for the people who pay him, not for the people who vote for him.

Industry  Total   Indivs   PACs

Oil & Gas  $150,200   $51,950   $98,250

Lawyers/Law Firms  $56,699   $47,699   $9,000

Casinos/Gambling  $51,450   $50,450   $1,000

Health Professionals  $42,000   $32,500   $9,500

Insurance  $29,000   $2,000   $27,000

Retail Sales  $26,250   $250   $26,000

Commercial Banks  $25,150   $20,150   $5,000

Electric Utilities  $23,750   $1,250   $22,500

Democratic/Liberal  $20,500   $500   $20,000

Hospitals/Nursing Homes  $18,800   $4,800   $14,000

Lobbyists  $18,262   $17,050   $1,212

Crop Production & Basic Processing  $18,050   $1,550   $16,500

Telephone Utilities  $16,500   $0   $16,500

Food & Beverage  $16,500   $1,000   $15,500

Mining  $16,400   $0   $16,400

Misc Finance  $15,900   $15,900   $0

Building Materials & Equipment  $14,325   $2,325   $12,000

Real Estate  $14,200   $10,200   $4,000

Human Rights  $13,850   $13,850   $0

Business Services  $13,850   $12,850   $1,000

Big Oil, Big Banks, for profit Health Care Industry, the Big Telecoms over Net Neutrality, in other words, the Players over the people.

Since 1990, Big Oil has invested around $144 million in the careers of congressmen, almost all conservatives. Almost 70% of the payoff have gone to Republicans. And among current members of the House there's only one Democrat in Big Oil's Top 10: Dan Boren ($565,460). As you can see, Big Oil is, by far, the biggest source of cash for his political endeavors. What you haven't been able to see, until Fox caught it on tape, is that Boren, who bragged about not voting for Obama and who has voted against virtually every piece of Democratic legislation since Obama has become president, has never found anything in the oil industry's agenda that he didn't get behind.
Take a look at Boren's Interest Group Ratings.  If you happen to be a paranoid delusional who believes that everybody's trying to take your guns away, then Dan's your man.  Well, actually he's the NRA's man, but they'll both be happy to validate your paranoia and delusions.

A couple of the more interesting things in the Interest Group Ratings is his high score among the Religious Right, like the Family Research Council, an anti-gay, anti women's rights group who would gladly do away the the Constitution and replace it with their particular interpretation of the Bible.

Another is the American Family Association, anti-gay, anti-women's rights and anti-labor and doing the Lord's work in deregulating the oil industry.  Seriously.  And Dan scored 100% with them.

The American Family Association (AFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes conservative Christian values[1][2][3][4] such as traditional marriage, anti-pornography, and pro-life activism,[5] as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act.[6]
My personal favorite is the 83% Dan got from ACT! for America.  You know it's good stuff when it's featured on

ACT! for America has a problem. Its first problem is that it was founded by Brigitte Gabriel. Yes, the same Brigitte Gabriel the New York Times called a “radical Islamophobe” and who in the past has made statements like “Arabs have no soul,” and “Arabs are barbarians.” She might be novel eye candy for some (which I’m guessing is the reason Bill Maher had her on his show) but it is clear that Brigitte Gabriel is a whacked out fundamentalist with a seething rage against Muslims and a determination on the one hand to destroy Islam and on the other to make as much profit in the process.
Just a piece of Boren's more recent voting record, he voted no to beefing up the Endangered Species Amendment and voted yes on anti-enviornment Richard Pombo's (R-CA) Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill.  Pombo believes that land developers are endangered.

Dan voted no on  Employment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Appropriations, read that job creation and unemployment extention.  Democrat bill.

He voted no on oversight of this country's financial institutions.  Democrat bill.

Voted no on capping carbon dioxide emissions.  Democrat bill.

Voted no to allow federal judges to reduce interest rates or extend repayment in order for people to keep their homes.  Democrat bill.

Voted no on hate crimes and employment discrimination.  Democrat bills.  Boren did vote yes on a couple of employment discrimination amendments.

Voted no to keep the Fed from interfering with state marijauna laws.  Obviously a Democratic bill.  And as a former chemo patient, trust me, those state laws are a wonderful thing.

It looks like Dan is pro-war, pro-permenant military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and pro-torture, judging by his vote on this Democratic bill.  Iraq Related Provisions such as a Troop Withdrawal, a Permanent Base Ban, and Limiting Interrogation Techniques

Voted no to expand the G.I. Bill.  Democratic.

Voted no to an Equal Pay bill with some teeth in it.  Another obviously Democratic bill.

Voted no to oil companies being environmentally responsible or responsible, period.

To be honest, not all of Dan Boren's votes are bad.  But the ones that are effect women's rights, gay rights, labor, the environment and almost always favor Big Business over the working class.  It's not just Dan, it's the whole Blue Dog Democrat Coalition, they are little more than Republicans masquerading as Democrats.

Dan will probably win, but it's a shame that Oklahoma doesn't have a real Democrat in D.C..  The Blue Dogs claim to be fiscal conservatives, but that's just better than saying that they sell their vote to the highest bidder.  You know, just like Republicans.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

ECON 101: Democrats, Not Republicans, Are The Real Fiscal Conservatives.

OK, the Right has been putting out their "Tax and Spend" garbage about Democrats for a lot of years now.  But like most of the stuff that comes from the Right it has very little to do with, well actual reality, as you can see from the graph above.

Keep in mind that the hero of the Right and most Teabaggers, Ronald Reagan, is considered the prototypical model of the ideal president, no "Tax and Spender" was he.  Of couse, this is mythology.  Ronald Reagan was no taxer, he cut the taxes for the richest among us and left the rest of us to take up the slack.  But Ron was a spender, a bigtime, Hollywood Blowout kind of a spender.  He tripled the national debt and turned this country from the largest lender in the world into the largest debtor in the world

In order to cover new federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, raising the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion,[21] and the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the world's largest debtor nation

So remember this when you see our teabaggin' friends out prostesting the socialists and yearning for the Reagan years.  BTW, those socialists that they're protesting against are us.

And Obama owns all the national debt now, according to the Right.  It's an interesting phenomenon that the Right only discovered the debt after Bush was out of office.  You can see by the chart below that Obama does own part of the debt.  But the choice was clear, either spend or enter another Great Depression.  And since those of us on the left have functioning hearts and brains, we opted to spend and we'll have to spend more if we want to generate the economy in order to create jobs.  I don't mean spend on Wall Street and Big Banks, but spend on the mainstreet level, spend on research for new job creating technologies, spend putting people to work fixing our crumbling intrastructure.  Or we could use the other side's model of letting the market sort every thing out.  If we did that, my guess would be that we would become a wholly owned subsidiary of China and that the Right would be first in line to suck up their new masters.

And now for someting completely different, 10 Lessons for Tea Baggers.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Progressive Jim Wilson Will Run Against Dan Boren.

It looks like we'll have a chance to replace our resident Republican Lite, Blue Dog Democrat with the real deal in the July 27th primaries.

Very few Democrats in Oklahoma have what it takes to stand up for what's right. For some reason, a good many of our Democratic politicians and party leaders feel that keeping someone who wets their panties when the Right says "boo" is preferable to a principled individual who will fight for the working class.

Win or not, the good news is that we have a few good people in the state who won't knuckle under to conservative pressure.

The bad news is that we may not have enough voters in the electorate who have not totally succumbed to the omnipresent right wing propaganda to understand that a vote for Boren is a vote against their own best self interests.

From Okie Funk.

It’s probably an understatement to argue that this has not been a great year for progressive Oklahoma Democrats so far.

No viable Democratic candidate has emerged to challenge U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. Both Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, trail U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin in polling. The Republican-dominated legislature continued its destructive, ideological spree at the state Capitol pretty much unabated and sometimes helped by conservative Democrats.

So it was fantastic news for progressives to learn that state Sen. Jim Wilson, a Democrat from Tahlequah, has announced he will challenge Blue Dog U.S. Rep. Dan Boren in the Second District Congressional Democratic primary.

Even more fantastic is this: Wilson, in the words of one blogger, Howie Klein, who interviewed him, won’t be running as “another Republican-lite reactionary.” This means he could challenge Boren on his Republican-like stances on issues such as health care reform and taxation during the campaign. Wilson is a viable candidate who could make Boren respond to criticism that his conservative votes have not always been in the best interests of his constituents.

This is what Wilson had to say in a recent press release about the relationship between medical record management systems and health care reform:

"For years, the debate on true health care reform has not been fact-based. It has been fear-based, driven by the greed of those who profit most from a broken system. As a result, hundreds of thousands of working Oklahomans have not been able to afford insurance. Even those fortunate enough to have it often find that after years of faithfully paying premiums, the companies will do everything in their power to avoid providing the care patients need. With proper reform, there will be no additional cost to Oklahoma, but the benefits will be innumerable."

Boren, of course, voted against the recent federal health care bill, arguing it costs too much money. Wilson argued the federal government was forced to step in to do something about health care and that any costs to Oklahomans “could be easily offset by eliminating waste, fraud and utilizing better management of medical records.”

Wilson, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Marine Corps, is going to draw a sharp distinction between himself and Boren on the campaign trail. This alone is good news for progressives.

The Second District encompasses 24 counties in the eastern part of Oklahoma. Some of the major cities in the district are Durant, McAlester, Muskogee, Tahlequah, Claremore and Miami. It includes the Little Dixie region in southeastern Oklahoma.

There’s little doubt that Wilson faces a real battle to win against an incumbent with huge family name recognition. Boren is the son of University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who is a former Oklahoma Governor and U.S. Senator. His grandfather, Lyle Boren, was a former U.S. Representative as well.

But with enough financial support and a good ground campaign, Wilson can win, and he can win without siding with the fear mongering and corporate worship that defines the current GOP and conservative Democrats, such as Boren. Wilson also has his own Oklahoma credentials and following in his Senate district and surrounding areas. He has also served in the Oklahoma House.

You can contribute to Wilson’s campaign by going to the Bad Dogs page on ActBlue.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Progressives/Liberals Alive And Well In The State That Sends Idiots To Washington D.C.. It's Funny, We're Outnumbered But We're Not The Paranoid Ones In Oklahoma.

I'm submitting this as proof that there are actual liberals in rural Oklahoma.

On your left you'll notice a rather large hill rising somewhat less than majestically into the clouds.  This is Cavanal Hill located in Poteau, OK.

This hill is also what I see when I go out my front door, albeit from 10 miles away and not from this angle.

However, this is the perspective I see almost as much as the one I see from my house, because this exact spot is the entrance to the local Wal-Mart.

Can't get much more Okie than that.

Now I have three more leftist Okies who, I assume, have more shopping options than I do.  I know they do since they're from OKC and Tulsa.  If we had the people who write these blogs running the Democratic Party in Oklahoma the state wouldn't be line dancing back to the Dark Ages.

Just Not Right is written by the kind of guy that makes the Righties in OK want a state formed milita.  His posts are right on the money.  You're going to like Just Not Right and if you have a delicate, purintanical disposition, don't bother.

Tim McVeigh stalagmites hate Democracy and America so violently they seek to overturn a massive landslide election by force. Teahadist's in Oklahoma are in serious conversation with wackjob local politicians to form a local armed militia to defend Oklahoma from the will of the people.

Teabag suckler and GOP wannabe for Governor, Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, thinks armed hooligans running amok promoting armed coups is a swell idea.

Double dip nut sucker state Rep. Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City, said he believes there's a good chance of introducing legislation for a state-authorized militia next year.

Yes, as I write this, we rest a week shy of the 15th anniversary and in the waning shadows of the survival tree, where an anti-government fanatic blew up the Afred P. Murrah building, killing 168 Americans.

And now, we have a bunch of losers, who hate losing so much that they are willing to get a gun to show how unpatriotic and un-American they are by imposing their will by bullets instead of
the ballot. 
Ok, I left out the good stuff.

And from Tulsy Town,

Alternative Tulsa

News and Views for Tulsa's Reality-Based Community: Ideas, Politics, Letters, Art, Environment

Hint, that reality-based thing is kinda code for non-teabagger.  Here's more.
Alternative Tulsa presents ideas and commentary for people in Tulsa and Northeastern Oklahoma who want a different view of politics and culture. Our philosophy is independent, rational, literate and open-minded. At AltTulsa (or AT), we want to highlight ideas and opinions that provoke and enlighten, doing our small part to publish the truth as we see it and, as the saying goes, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Once again, that whole "independent, rational, literate and open-minded" thing pretty much means "We ain't frigging Republicans".  Good news and a good blog from Oklahoma's Second City, third college football team.

The third blog is from a honest to goodness out of state agitator who, from what I can figure, found herself in Oklahoma when the 'shrooms wore off and has been stuck here ever since.  But fortunately, she's been showing us locals how to have fun since '03, er 2003.  She goes by Rena and her place is Peace Arena.  It's probably the only spot in Oklahoma where you'd find an article with a title like;

A thousand (plus) words worth of progressive schadenfreude

We may not know what that means, but back when we could beat Texas we appreaciated the concept without realizing that there was a name for it.  So Rena is raising our collective IQ, thanks Rena.

Just wanted folks to know that there are some people who are able to use their minds for the intended purpose here in the state where hunter/gatherer is quickly becoming a good career choice.

Check out these points of lights from the right wing darkness.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Oklahoma: More Than Just Ignorant Rednecks Thinking It's Someone Else's Fault That They're Not Banging Taylor Swift.

Really been laying off the blog lately.  Spending most of my time being called a socialist over at Stumpburners, a local spot I would recommend to everyone.

Being a liberal, or as they say now "progressive", in a state where a lot of folks value ignorance as a virtue can kinda give a person that lonesome feeling.  You know, when a good percentage of so-called Democrats are pandering to the dupes of the corporate special interests, some call them Tea Baggers, it gets a tad depressing to say the least.

But fortunately, I've found out that Oklahoma's not nearly as stupid as I have been wrongly accusing it of being.

As I've found out there is a thriving community of honest to goodness lefties/liberals/progressives in Oklahoma.  And they do this much better than I do.  So, I'm adding an Oklahoma Progressive Blogs widget to the top of Redneck Liberal to gladly show the world or the five or six people who actually read it that Oklahoma is not the intellectual wasteland (current politicians excepted) that it is portrayed on, well, pretty much everywhere.

Believe it or not, here in Oklahoma topics of conversation can go beyond our guns, our hunting dogs, our last deer kill, our pickups or our old lady's little sister is really hot, while drinking 3.2 beer and believeing that it's actual beer.  No, here in Oklahoma we have plenty of what the Right says is the "intellectual elite". 

The first Progressive Okie Blog that I hope everyone checks out is Okie Funk:  Notes From The Outback.  It's written by Dr. Kurt Hochenauer, a Brit Lit teacher at the University of Central Oklahoma, here's his bio.  Here's his mission statement:

This is a blog of populist and liberal information and ideas, advancing the cause of truth and justice while fighting the ugly tyranny of right-wing oppression in Oklahoma and its surrounding environs
This dude's got a clue.  Here is some of his blog.  The Oklahoman is owned by the Gaylord Family of Oklahoma along with the Grand Ole Opry, The Nashville Network and the Country Music Television.  Needless to say, they're good Republicans.

Here’s two questions the editorial writers at The Oklahoman will never directly address in any detail:

How does giving tax credits to the state’s big oil and gas companies represent true free market principles? If oil and gas companies cannot make it without special tax treatment not given to regular middle-class taxpayers, then shouldn’t they be allowed to fail under market fundamentalism ideology?

On Friday, The Oklahoman published an editorial (“Tax attacks: Incentive review revs up rhetoric,” May 7, 2010) that criticized state Rep. Scott Inman (D-Del City) for even suggesting tax incentives for oil and gas companies here should be reviewed given the state’s massive budget crisis, which has led to vital program cuts and could lead to massive teacher layoffs.

So here’s one key snarky paragraph in the editorial:

Inman will be the top House Democrat next year. He’s already matching the rhetoric to the responsibility. It’s expected. We hope that rational thought is also a job prerequisite.

Note the phrase “rational thought.” This is coming from a SERIOUS newspaper editorial page that refuses to speak out consistently and rationally against Republican extremism at the legislature, a SERIOUS editorial page that almost always labels recent health care reform “Obamacare,” a SERIOUS editorial page that rails against teachers and supports chronically low per pupil spending even as it argues good educational systems are vital to Oklahoma’s future.
The next Blog is the Grindstone Journal, it's written by a bunch of folks and from what I've read, the kind of folks that you'd want to invite you to party with them.  Example?  Sure!

Discussing a liberal view of democracy... with drinks!

Grindstone does serious stuff too.

In What's So Great About Christianity D'Souza opens with a discussion on why he feels Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, and E.O. Wilson, all Darwinian scientists, are wrong, but as we will see, D'Souza doesn't offer any scientific evidence for why he thinks their science is flawed. This is something I find amusing coming from a Christian apologist who already nurtures a preconceived bias towards scientific thinking in general, Darwinism in specific. In the second chapter of his book D’Souza quotes Pinker’s account that there may be Darwinian explanations for religious thinking and the very evolution of the idea of God, or at least, according to Pinker, the idea of God may be a byproduct of some pre-existing condition or human need, and may have a naturalistic and organic origin just as language does.[1] At least such a hypothesis as this must be ruled out before we can settle on a hypothesis which is virtually impossible to prove and entirely unlikely to be factual. Conjecture does not a good proof make, although D’Souza ignores such logic and sticks to his guns. Firing away another volley, without having even provided any dependable or convincing evidence, D’Souza immediately goes on to say about Pinker’s theory that, “This is another way of saying there is no Darwinian explanation.”[2]
So be sure to check out Grindstone Journal.

And last there's blueoklahoma and they are "...anything but sad...", what they are is this,

This is a community blog operated since 2006 by people dedicated to promoting and restoring progressive values in Oklahoma. A courageous band of patriots, we fight right-wing tyranny in one of the reddest of red states.
I wonder if their standards are low enough to let me post on there?  Anyway these are the first three Oklahoma based progressive blogs of the many that I plan on highlighting here.  And as lifelong Okie I want to thank them for their work in fighting ignorance in particular and the dark side in general.

Check 'em out.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Wealth Distribution for the Rich and Famous: Part II.

Here's a little right wing mantra that often turns up in emails and on political discussion boards.  It's usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln, wrongly, of course.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) Assassinated [see also "William Boetcker"]

Lincoln, Abraham
It was actually said by William Boetcker, a conservative preacher who, I guess, was hoping for a little "trickle down" action.
An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots. Originally published in 1916, it is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln. The error apparently stems from a leaflet printed in 1942 by a conservative political organization called the Committee for Constitutional Government. The leaflet bore the title "Lincoln on Limitations" and contained some genuine Lincoln quotations on one side and the "Ten Cannots" on the other, with the attributions switched. The mistake of crediting Lincoln for having been the source of "The Ten Cannots" has been repeated many times since, most notably by Ronald Reagan in a speech he gave at the 1992 Republican convention in Houston.
Right wingers eat that stuff up and use it to try to frame the arguement that the left is trying to loot the coffers of the benevolent rich from which all good things in life come.
Not only is the right wrong about who said it, it's also wrong in its premise.  The fact of the matter is, if we don't rein in the top 1%, the rest of us are going to have squat.  The chart at the top of the page is from 2001 when the top 1% controlled 33% of the wealth in this country.  Six years of right wing controlled government had raised that to 42%
Apparently, they want it all.
In the meantime, former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has a WSJ op-ed arguing that our tax collections are too skewed towards the higher end and that the the middle and the poor don't pay enough. His argument is that it's just plain bad that 50% of the population don't pay income taxes -- that they don't have their skin in the game. That it's fundamentally bad for democracy.
Yeah, the working class don't have any "skin in the game".  They only generate this country's economy by putting practically all their income right back into it.  Jerk.
As a matter of math, Fleischer is probably right. The idea that we can continue to raise revenue, while shifting more of the burden onto fewer and fewer people is a pipe dream. Think of the grand scale of the government's ambitions, from fighting wars to providing universal healthcare. Are we really to believe that all this can be done via a tax increase on the top 2%? That's obviously hogwash. What's more is that top 2% is getting sharply poorer fast, given the collapse of the financial industry.

The rich can afford their cheerleaders, not to mention the media, in order to get their "poor little billionaire" message out.  And if the working class says anything, the "class warfare" meme will be drug out and waved like the bloody shirt.
All of this has just been a segue into an excellent article from My Budget 360 titled How the Average American household making $52,000 a Year is Coping while the Ultra Rich Pull Away. Examining the new Numbers on Income Distribution in the United States.
Here's some relevant passages.
Now that tax season is rolling around average Americans are examining the implications of a difficult 2009 economy. Yet the data on typical families shows that many Americans are falling further and further behind in this current economy. It is sobering to realize that over 14 million American households live on $15,000 or less per year. These statistics usually get lost in the noise of protecting the wealthy class with their generous tax breaks. But when we examine the data even further we realize that even those with solid incomes of $100,000 to $200,000 per year are feeling the tax burden pinch with changes in the alternative minimum tax (AMT). What we can gather from the data is the small elite, the top 1 percent have managed to setup a structure that manages to use the rest of the population to finance their adventure.
The extremely wealthy are the people getting all the perks of the current system; accounting gimmicks, offshore accounts, capital gains tax rates that are favorable, and other items like carryover losses that most Americans never even deal with. The bailouts, the tax breaks, and items that specifically only improve their bottom line.
In fact an income of $100,000 or more a year puts you in the top 15 percent of wealth earners in this country. Looking at 2006 IRS records shows that an income of $108,904 would put you in the top 10 percent while an income of $388,806 would put you in the top 1 percent. And here is the real break. Because tax breaks become more generous for the ultra rich especially when a large number live off of capital gains and only pay 15 percent in taxes on this while working grunts have to pay every imaginable tax on the books.
And this is exactly what we saw in the following five years and are still seeing. Republicans and Democrats alike seem destined to protect this elite group. Hedge fund gains and Wild West gambling on Wall Street allowed the ultra rich to pull away from the average American pack while not even paying their fair share in taxes. This is still going on by the way since the system also allows carryover losses in stocks and wonderful loopholes to game the system.
So we had a major debate for 50,000 tax filers in a nation with over 113,000,000 households? The top 1 percent are betting on you not doing the numbers. They want to keep the game going because it is rigged in their favor. The banking bailouts are largely a transfer of wealth to those who least need it. Until we get this thing under control, the average American is going to feel the pinch of the economy deeper and deeper.
We can't rely on our elected officials to help us out.  We have to get together, take back our party and keep our foot firmly on the necks of our politicians to get things straightened out.  So get active, get your friends and relatives together and have them do the same thing.  Get enough like minded people with you and go to the local Democratic Party meetings and take the damned thing over.  Then do the right thing.
The top 1% has everything going for it, even the Tea Baggers.  The working class and the poor only have us.  Let's not let them down.  I guess that should be, "Let's not let us down".
Be sure to read all of the above article