Prosecute the torture.

August 31, 2012

Song of the Day (Night)

Dems Unveil Their Special Convention Celebrity Guests

Pee-Wee and Chairy! Because Democrats respect their chairs enough to let them speak for themselves!

More On Paul Ryan's Disconnect With The Truth

We blogged on this a little yesterday.

Today I am curious to see how the media fact-checked his speech.

From the Washington Post there's a "basic rundown" of three of Ryan's claims:
1. Ryan appeared to suggest that Obama was to blame for the closing of the GM plant in Janesville, Wis., saying: “Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.” But the closure of the plan was announced in mid-2008, when President George W. Bush was still in office and before Obama assumed the presidency, and the plant was mostly shuttered by the end 2008.

2. Ryan took aim at Obama’s Medicare proposal: “They needed hundreds of billions more [for Obamacare]. So, they just took it all away from Medicare, $716 billion dollars funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Left unsaid: Ryan’s own budget made basically the same cuts to Medicare. Since being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Ryan has embraced the GOP presidential nominee’s plan to restore those cuts. But he still favored them at one point – enough to put them in his own budget.

3. Ryan criticized Obama for assembling the Simpson-Bowles debt commission and then declining to act on the panel’s final report: “He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” Left unsaid here: Ryan himself served on the debt commission and voted against its suggestions. And by doing so, the House Budget Committee chairman helped kill the proposal, given the clout he has with his party on such matters.
And the conclusion:
Fact-checkers are basically unanimous that all three of these claims either stretch the truth or are flat-out false.
Then there's how the Business Insider characterizes Ryan's tale of the downgrading of the nations credit rating.  Ryan said in his speech:
It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.
The Business Insider quotes Standard And Poors:
Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. Key macroeconomic assumptions in the base case scenario include trend real GDP growth of 3% and consumer price inflation near 2% annually over the decade. [emphasis in original]
And concludes:
S&P downgraded the U.S., in part, because of a revised expectation that the Bush tax cuts would remain in place. They assumed this because of Republicans' unwillingness to enact any measures raising revenue, and they completely slammed House Republicans — including Paul Ryan — for doing so.
Pretty damning stuff.

Keep it in mind next time you hear a news person discuss Ryan's speech.  If they do a "he said/he said" thing,  you know they're avoiding the truth.

August 30, 2012

More On Paul Ryan's Speech Last Night

There's only one thing to say about the GOP's Vice-Presidential nominee.

You can read a transcript here.

I want to focus on this part:
He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.
What debt commission was that?

That would be the so called "Bowles-Simpson" commission or more officially, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform - but more on that in a little bit.

Implied in Ryan's criticism of Obama, is the notion that the president should have acted on the recommendations of the report, right?

Looking at the details shows Ryan's dishonesty.  For example, guess who was one of the commissioners?

Representative Paul Ryan.

And guess how he voted on the final report?  From CNN:
Ryan was one of eight Republicans on the 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which Obama established in 2010. The commission was led by Erskine Bowles, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson.

Bowles and Simpson proposed a sweeping program of spending cuts and a radical overhaul of the U.S. tax code, aimed at cutting projected budget deficits by a total of $4 trillion by 2020. The plan included changes to Social Security and substantial cuts in defense and discretionary spending.

But for their proposal to be adopted as official recommendations to Congress, the Bowles-Simpson commission needed 14 of the 18 votes. It failed on an 11-7 vote, with four Democrats and three Republicans, including Ryan, voting no. [emhasis added]
Huh.  He kinda left something important out, didn't he?

August 29, 2012

August 28, 2012

Meet Tom Smith: GOP Senate Candidate & Father of the Year!


Via Think Progress:
MARK SCOLFORO, ASSOCIATED PRESS: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?

SMITH: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.

SCOLFORO: Similar how?

SMITH: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

SCOLFORO: That’s similar to rape?

SMITH: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.
 
Where to start?
Having your daughter have a child "out of wedlock" is only similar to having your daughter have a child from being raped if you are a father who believes that your daughter is a mere extension of yourself. A father who would compare the two is a father whose only concern is the fact that his unwed daughter is visibly not a virgin and that that somehow reflects poorly on him. It springs from the same attitude as those who believe in honor killings. It springs from the same Christian Bible as the one that commands that a rapist must marry his victim...and pay the father fifty pieces of silver. It springs from a total lack of concern and any empathy for a woman's own experience, feelings and well being. It spews from an inability to see a woman as a person in her own right.
Smith is not the only PA pol to go into detail about a daughter's own private business to make a point on abortion. PA State Rep. Harry A. Readshaw (D, PA-36) was only too happy to let a constituent know that abortion wasn't fair because his own daughter couldn't give him a grandbaby. If these men had a uterus, they could stop using their daughters in their arguments and speak from their own experience. But they have no experience of their own -- just the power to use their own prejudices and religion to make laws that all women will have to follow.
It makes me sick.
By the way, this being Pennsylvania, his Democratic opponent, Sen. Bob Casey, is also anti abortion (he was one of only three Democratic US Senators to vote against killing the Blunt Amendment). But Bobby, at least believes that abortion should be allowed if a woman is raped or dying. That's a progressive Catholic in these parts.
All hail the American Taliban!

Jim Roddey, Comedian

Yes, I realize it's just a joke, but...

A short time ago, Allegheny County GOP chair made a stupid joke (he's since apologized for it) about an Obama supporter being "mentally retarded."  The Republican crowd he told the joke to, for the record, howled with laughter.

Well, he's at it again.  This time on the pages of the Tribune-Review.  The Scaife-owned Trib is publishing a series of commentaries from GOP chair Roddey about his experiences at the Republican National Convention down in Tampa.

And Roddey puts on his comedian hat again today:
The buzz at the DoubleTree Hotel, the temporary home of the Pennsylvania delegation, is mostly about the weather.

At breakfast I overheard several delegates complaining that the party aboard a boat in the Tampa harbor had been canceled.

Curiously, no one seemed to care that the start of the convention had been delayed. There are several theories about the origin of the storm, the most interesting of which was that Barack Obama was born in Haiti, learned voodoo and had put a hex on the GOP festivities in Florida.
Yes, I realize it's just a joke.  And yes I realize Roddey doesn't actually believe President Obama was born in Haiti and is a practitioner in voodoo and can "put a hex" on the weather.

But look at the words he chose: Haiti and voodoo.

Now, you gotta ask yourself, would that joke with those words make any more or less sense if the president were not an African-American?

I am sure the Republicans reading the Trib are howling with laughter right now.

Must Read: Jeanne Clark's Open Letter to Mayor Ravenstahl on George Trosky's Promotion

The promotion by Pittsburgh Bureau of Police of Zone 2 Commander George Trosky to assistant chief of investigations has not been without controversy due to a history of violent episodes in his past.

Women's advocate Jeanne Clark pens an open letter to the the mayor of Pittsburgh about the promotion that starts with this:
Your public attack on me in the reception line at the Cookie Cruise – berating me for criticizing your promotion of George Trosky to assistant police chief, screaming that I was a "hypocrite," and threatening to "go public" with what you perceive to be my failure to support all domestic violence survivors – was bizarre, to say the least. Coming on the heels of the same threat made to me on your behalf by City Councilmember Theresa Kail-Smith the day before, it was clear you intended to silence me.
That's not going to happen. Three women are murdered by spouses or ex-spouses in this country every day, and it must be stopped. I believe that promoting Trosky will make the problem worse here. Not just for women, but also for other police officers, and for the city as a whole. But you insist on taking actions like this promotion – actions that harm our city – just because they serve your personal needs and desires.
I'm sure you'll want to read her entire letter here.

Mitt Romney GOP Convention Watch Party


Meet Mitt Romney: Candidate for the 1%

Via One Pittsburgh:
One Pittsburgh hosts a public watch party of this year’s Republican National Convention speech by Mitt Romney, who will accept his nomination for President on Aug. 30 in Tampa Bay. The event will be in Schenley Plaza. There will be two 15 foot screens, one of the speech and one for commentary on the speech in real time.  
This November, Americans will vote in an election that will affect us for generations to come. Will we end historic programs like Medicare and Social Security, and out vouchers in their place? Will we reinstate the Bush tax cuts or allow them to expire? Mitt Romney’s “Come Back Team” claims that Romney’s business background gives him the experience to put our economy back on track and deliver prosperity to all Americans. One Pittsburgh will offer educational games and live speech decoding to reveal the real Romney economics—tax breaks that never trickle down to the rest of us, cuts to education, health care and low –wage, no-benefit jobs  
Pittsburgh – Thursday at 8pm, Pittsburghers will gather in Schenley Plaza – in Oakland – to meet Mitt Romney, candidate of the One Percent. Family friendly games like InSource/OutSource, Tug of War, Unlevel Playing Field, and Pin the Deficit on the Folks Who Made It provide a fun way to get the facts before listening to Romney’s acceptance speech. Pittsburgh workers from Dunkin’ Donuts and Burlington Coat Factory – both Bain companies that continue to build the Romney family fortune – are in Tampa right now to ask Mitt Romney to use his experience to help them get ahead. They’ll return for Thursday’s watch party to report what they learned and to predict the future of a Romney Economy from the point of view of those living in it now. When Romney takes the stage in Tampa, One Pittsburgh will be here in Pittsburgh to help de-code his speech and to offer a chance at a real dialogue with real people in real-time, on a split screen.  
Who: One Pittsburgh, community members, coalition partners, low wage workers attending RNC in Tampa Bay  
What: Presidential nomination acceptance speech, games family, music  
When: 8pm, Thursday, August 30  
Where: Schenley Plaza, Oakland
Facebook page here

August 26, 2012

Song of the day


The delay of the Republican National Convention by Tropical Storm Issac is due to God's punishment of Republicans for their "legitimate rape"/"forcible rape" ideas, their policy against same-sex marriage, and a pact they signed with the devil said no liberal pastor ever.

August 24, 2012

Romney lets out dog-whistle: "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate"


Mitt Romney in Michigan today:
"I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where but the both of us were born," Romney said after introducing his wife, fellow Michigan native Ann. "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised."
Yes, I know we are supposed to see this as a joke, but it's certainly not the first time that Romney or his campaign and surrogates have let loose with the racial and "othering" dog-whistles:
  • Romney's running an ad which falsely claims that Obama has ended work requirements for Americans receiving welfare benefits (Shades of Reagan's "Welfare Queen").

  • Romney boasts proudly about the NAACP crowd who booed him,  "If they want more stuff from the government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff." (Because, you know, all blacks only want free stuff.)

  • Romney follows up comments made by campaign surrogate John Sununu, that President Obama needs to "learn to be an American" by saying himself that Obama doesn't understand "what it is that makes America such a unique nation."

  • Romney calls Obama "angry" (right, cause No Drama Obama is such an angry black man) and says Obama wants to "to smash America apart."

  • A Romney advisor claims that Obama doesn’t "fully appreciate" America’s "Anglo-Saxon heritage."

  • Yes, yes. Obama is the angry, black foreigner who wants to give all the free shit that real Americans work hard for to the other blacks because he doesn't understand America because he wasn't born here.

    [sigh]

    And yes, Mitt, you're white and rich so no one has ever asked to see your birth certificate (just the black guy's), but everyone and his brother has asked to see your tax returns -- including fellow Republicans -- so what about that?

    August 23, 2012

    Welcome To The Right Wing Noise Machine

    Funny what you'll find when you trace the source.

    We start with this today:
    There they go again: The State Department is, for lack of a better word, Obamaizing its online profiles of foreign countries. That is, State is promoting Barack the Supposedly Great’s foreign policy “achievements” (our quotation marks, not the administration’s), Fox New (sic) reports. What’s next to be bastardized, the Constitution? (Some would argue that’s already happened.)
    This leads us back to the Fox News report:
    The State Department has started to replace its just-the-facts online profiles of foreign countries with new ones that appear to largely highlight U.S. relations since President Obama took office -- a move that comes on top of efforts to update the official profiles of past presidents with Obama-themed factoids.

    The agency has so far swapped just a fraction of the nearly 200 country profiles. The new versions are hardly sensational in their promotion of Obama administration policy objectives, but do appear to put more of an emphasis on them. Several now highlight Obama initiatives like pursuing "strategic" talks with China and South Africa, and ending discrimination against transgendered individuals in Brazil.

    The changes were discovered by the Heritage Foundation's Jim Roberts. Roberts likened the changes to the move by the White House to tack on Obama accomplishments at the end of the online bios of past presidents, which drew ridicule earlier this year.
    Ah, yes...our good friends at the Scaife funded Heritage Foundation.

    You wanna know where else the story's landed?

    The Scaife owned NewsMax.

    Isn't it great for Amurika when one man can use his God-given billions to steer the news?

    August 22, 2012

    Song of the day

    Um, I Guess It Should Be Noted...

    Let's start with Selena Zito of The Trib (who doesn't get it wrong - good for her):
    Vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan appealed to middle-class voters on Tuesday at a suburban steel company, urging them to swing the November presidential election to the GOP no matter their party affiliation.

    The Wisconsin congressman walked on stage clutching a Terrible Towel as a crowd of about 2,000 supporters at Beaver Steel Services, a family-owned manufacturer in Rosslyn Farms Industrial Park, chanted, “Here we go, Ryan, here we go!”

    Above his makeshift stage, in front of a flatbed truck holding steel plates, hung a banner reading “We did build it” — a reference to President Obama’s July 13 speech in Virginia, in which he said business people did not succeed on their own but instead with the help of an American system.
    Not the best writing in that last sentence but let's move on.

    CNN had more of the story:
    The old anecdotes fed into a larger narrative about the economy that the Romney-Ryan team has been trying to drive home for months. The campaign continues to take out of context a comment Obama made in Roanoke about business.

    Their message was reinforced by the backdrop at Beaver Steel with the words "We did build it!" displayed behind Ryan on a flat-bed truck.

    "Or how about the latest doozy in Roanoke, VA? Tony and Tony, father and son, we're here in your business. You have 50 employees in your business. You created jobs. You worked hard. You sacrificed. You rolled up your sleeves, you took risks. You had good days, you had bad days. Tony, you built this business. The government didn't build it for you. It's your business, your achievement, and we all benefit from that. That's what this country is built upon. You see, it's this belief that we need a government-centered society driven by a government-driven economy. It doesn't work," he said.
    Glad they point out the "out of context" part.  I've already written about what the President actually said.  But here it is again:
    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. [Emphasis added.]
    Now let's look at where Ryan was speaking: Beaver Steel Services.  Google the business and youll find that it's on Arch Street in Carnegie - right near Interstate 376.

    Where do you think I-376 came from?

    Read this.

    How many millions of dollars (State and Federal, meaning TAX dollars) went to building I-376?  And how does that benefit Beaver Steel Services?

    And doesn't that prove the President's point?

    I'm in favor of a Personhood Amendment!

    Only I want one for women and girls.

    Thank you.

    Todd Akin visited this blog



    At least I'm going to assume that the person who came here by googling "can rape victims get pregnant" is Todd Akin because I refuse to believe anyone else is that stupid. I prefer to think that Akin is trying to learn something.

    August 20, 2012

    Republican Congressman Goes to Holy Land and Tea Bags Sea of Galilee

    They sure loves them some Jesus.

    Republican Senate Candidate Todd Akin: "Legitimate Rape" Victims Don't Get Pregnant

    Via Talking Points Memo:
    Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy. 

    “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 
    Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim. 
    "Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
    Here's the video:


    Depressing is the whole notion of "legitimate" rapes. You know, "rape rapes" as opposed to some slut asking for it. (Of course the FBI waited until just this year to redefine their 1927 definition of rape as more than just “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” So, for example, raping a drugged women, coercing a minor, raping someone with a foreign object, or any rape of boys or men have never entered into their statistics for over 80 years now...)

    Disgusting is the fact that Akin, who believes in some sort of magic vagina venom (thank you Martha Plimpton), serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. (Petition to have him removed from that committee here.)

    Ironic is the possibility that this idiot who seems to have very little actual knowledge of basic biology when it comes to women may very well replace one of the few woman who now serves in the U.S. Senate -- Claire McCaskill -- whose reaction to his remarks is here (via Twitter).

    And, chilling is the idea that Akin -- and men like him -- get to make laws about what women and girls can and can't do with their own bodies.

    Speaking of rape and abortion, in 2005 Akin voted "against the creation of a national sex offender registry database that required those convicted of a sex crime to register before completing a prison term and increased mandatory sentences for those convicted of molesting children." And just last year, he 'joined with GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as two of the original co-sponsors of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill which, among other things, introduced the country to the bizarre term “forcible rape."'

    The sad truth is that Akin is not alone in his belief in the magic vagina venom:
    Via the San Francisco Chronicle:   
    1995-04-21 04:00:00 PDT Raleigh, N.C. -- Women do not get pregnant when raped because "the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work" during an attack, a state lawmaker said yesterday.  
    Republican Representative Henry Aldridge made the remarks to the House Appropriations Committee as it debated a proposal to eliminate a state abortion fund for poor women.  
    "The facts show that people who are raped -- who are truly raped -- the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant," said Aldridge, a 71-year-old periodontist. "Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever."  
    And, from philly.com:  
    March 23, 1988|By JOHN M. BAER, Daily News Staff Writer  
    HARRISBURG — The odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are "one in millions and millions and millions," said state Rep. Stephen Freind, R-Delaware County, the Legislature's leading abortion foe.  
    The reason, Freind said, is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to "secrete a certain secretion" that tends to kill sperm.  
    Two Philadelphia doctors specializing in human reproduction characterized Freind's contention as scientifically baseless.  
    Freind made the statement on a central Pennsylvania radio interview program earlier this month.
    Akin already has his defenders. From Politico reporter Dave Catanese:

    (Undoubtedly there will be other defenders. I'm thinking Trump who recently proclaimed that women like Obama because they "don't get what's going on" and Geraldo who believes there's a “lesbian cabal” at the Department of Homeland Security and the guy who just wrote a Letter to the Editor at the local Observer-Reporter about how the women folk do not belong in the workplace would love to chime in with their support.)

    And then there's the Catholic Church which is opposed to any and all abortions -- even those to save the life of the women...and girl. From RH Reality Check:
    A pregnant 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic died from complications of leukemia, according to CNN. The young woman was forced to wait nearly three weeks to begin chemotherapy to treat her disease as hospital officials initially refused to treat her fearing it could terminate her pregnancy. In the end she lost her life and the pregnancy, and may have died because of the delay in her treatment.  
    Under an amendment to the Dominican Republic's constitution which declares that "life begins at conception," abortion is banned, effectively for any reason. The girl's leukemia was diagnosed when she was just nine weeks pregnant.  
    Dominican women's health advocates told RH Reality Check this afternoon that while the doctors and the state refused to allow the girl treatment for leukemia, they made her undergo "ultrasounds to show that the baby was healthy and for her to see it moving."  
    Chemotherapy was begun after the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, at which time the girl began to bleed, yet still the doctors refused to interrupt the pregnancy. Advocates report that she subsequently miscarried the pregnancy and began to hemorrhage; the medical team was unable to contain the bleeding and she died.  
    The girl's mother had pleaded with both doctors and authorities to give her daughter an abortion so she could begin chemotherapy immediately.
    The Catholic Church certainly had a large role in banning abortions in the Dominican Republic which led to this teen's death.  And, they have certainly not been shy about using their influence on politicians in these United States. Pennsylvania women just recently escaped having ultrasounds forced upon them. If that law had passed, many would have ended up at a "crisis pregnancy" center like this one in Pittsburgh where Bishop David Zubik blessed their ultrasound machine (photo at link!). The name of the center? "Women's Choice Network."

    "Choice." Uh-huh.

    That's like calling pedophile priests "Altar Boy Protectors."

    Some day, we might just start treating women like actual people -- not strange creatures with magic vagina venom.

    But, I won't hold my breath for that day to come.

    While You Were Away....

    There's something mildly creepy (in the least) in this P-G story:
    Holy water spattered on white paper covering a medical exam table as Catholic Bishop David Zubik blessed the ultrasound machine at the North Side office of the Women's Choice Network.

    "Grant that all those who will use this equipment to improve their lives and those of the unborn may recognize that you are wonderful in your works and may learn to carry out your will more readily," he prayed Thursday as dozens of staff, volunteers and donors looked on.

    The Women's Choice Network is a local agency assisting women in crisis pregnancies with options other than abortion.
    The name alone should give one pause.  Imagine you're a scared first year college student and you find yourself pregnant (by the way we already know you weren't raped because "legitimately raped" women can't get pregnant according to GOP science) and so you scour the yellow pages for options.

    Your eyes happen upon the "Women's Choice Network" and your fright lessens a bit.  You take a stop in only to find out it's not about your choices, but the only choices they want for you instead.

    Yea, that's a choice.

    August 19, 2012

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    Oooboy, Jack Kelly's Post-Gazette column is a confused mess this week.

    He starts out with this:
    Someone who looks like Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pushes an old woman in a wheelchair over a cliff as the ad claims he would leave seniors "without Medicare." It was, said PolitiFact, the 2011 Lie of the Year.
    Jack doesn't point out the agita Politifact caused with that assertion.

    Politifact, however, does:
    Liberal bloggers and columnists contend it's accurate to say Republicans voted to end Medicare. Left-leaning websites such as Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, and The New Republic said PolitiFact's analysis was wrong, as did New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

    "According to (PolitiFact's) logic, if the FBI were replaced with a voucher program wherein citizens would receive subsidies for hiring private investigators to look into criminal activity, but the agency running the voucher program were still called the FBI, it would be unfair to say that the FBI had been ended," wrote Jed Lewison for Daily Kos. "I guess it's their right to make that argument, but it's transparently absurd."
    For the record, Politifact does not rebut this charge.  It all depends, I guess, on how one defines the concept of change.  If the plan is altered into something completely different but called the same thing is that "killing" it?  In this instance, Democrats say yes and Republicans say no.

    FBI vouchers anyone?

    Politifact describes the Ryan Plan:
    Under the current Medicare system, the government pays the health care bills for Americans over age 65. Under the Ryan plan, future beneficiaries would be given a credit and invited to shop for an approved plan on a Medicare health insurance exchange. It received overwhelming support from Republicans in a House vote on a budget blueprint.

    Starting in 2022, beneficiaries would receive "premium support payments" from the government to help pay for the private insurance. People who need more health care would get a little more money, and high earners would get a little less.

    The plan has some guarantees for coverage, although seniors would have to pay more to get the benefits they receive today, according to an analysis completed earlier this year by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    The guarantees: Ryan's plan requires private insurers to accept all applicants and to charge the same rate for people who are the same age. The plans would comply with standards set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the health plans of federal employees. The Medicare eligibility age would rise from 65 to 67, an idea that has received some bipartisan support in the past.

    The CBO found that it would save the government money. But it does so by asking future Medicare beneficiaries to pay more for the same benefits.
    Ah, Jack doesn't mention that last part, does he?

    But it's in the very same Politifact blog post he cites.  Did he miss it?  How?

    And as long as Jack's now relying on the authority of Politifact for his analysis of the Ryan plan, one wonders tha,t when Jack uses this arguement:
    It's the Democrats who plan to cut benefits for those who receive them now. Starting in October, they'll take $716 billion from Medicare to help fund Obamacare.
    If he's even bothered to read this from Politifact:
    Here, we’re checking whether Obama "robbed" Medicare of $716 billion dollars to pay for Obamacare.
    And what did they find? Take a look:
    We rate this statement Mostly False.
    And this is how they describe the "robbery":
    What kind of spending reductions are we talking about? They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.

    Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care.
    Um, Jack? If you researched this yourself you need to do a better job.  If you're paying someone to research  this for you you need to fire them (for gross incompetence) and get a real researcher.

    See?  A confused mess.

    August 17, 2012

    Ah...SCIENCE!

    Or at least that's what they're calling it in some parts of Louisiana these days.

    From Scotland:
    THOUSANDS of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real – in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.

    Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

    The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism.
    And school voucher money is supporting this!
    Private religious schools, including the Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana, which follows the ACE curriculum, have already been cleared to receive the state voucher money transferred from public school funding, thanks to a bill pushed through by Republican state governor Bobby Jindal, a Hindu convert to Catholicism.
    So there's just a little less money going to real science education in order to teach that the Loch Ness monster disproves Darwin.

    But what of this "Accelerated Christian Education" program?  Guess what?  Like everything else in the  known universe, it has a website.

    Based on the curriculum, by the 5th grade, a student:
    Discovers the Bible to be the final authority in scientific matters.[emphasis in original]
    Oh, that's SO GOOD TO KNOW!  I'm scouring my Bible right now looking some insight into that whole "particle/wave" duality thing.  Is light a wave or a particle?  How is it that when one tests to see if it's a wave one sees a wave but when one tests to see if it's a particle one sees particles.

    Let me say it again, if we are a nation in decline this has to be one of the reasons - a willful, stubborn, religiously-inspired anti-intellectual retreat from science.

    August 16, 2012

    Message To Mike Romigh

    Uh, Mike?

    I only caught the last half of tonight's Night Talk and so perhaps the first half was different (let's hope so) - but Mike, if you're going to discuss Pennsylvania's Voter ID and follow that with a discussion of Welfare reform, why use a Republican attorney as the election expert and a Policy Analyst from the Conservative Commonwealth Foundation as the welfare expert?

    Couldn't you find any liberals to be on your show?  There are more than a few here in Allegheny County.  Should be easy to find a couple to talk to.


    Now, On That $716 Billion

    From Politifact.
    • That Obama "robbed" Medicare of $700 Billion: Mostly False.
      First things first: Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut a dollar amount from the Medicare program’s budget.

      Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to try to bring down future health care costs in the program. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years.

      What kind of spending reductions are we talking about? They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.

    • That Ryan includes the same reductions in his budget plan: True.
      Does Ryan’s budget keep the reductions in Medicare spending? The short answer is yes.

      Here’s what Ryan said in an interview with George Stephanopolous of ABC News in June, before his selection as Romney’s running mate:

      Stephanopoulos: "You know, several independent fact-checkers have taken a look at that claim, the $500 billion in Medicare cuts, and said that it's misleading. And in fact, by that accounting, your budget, your own budget, which Gov. Romney has endorsed, would also have $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

      Ryan: "Well, our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency. What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. ..." (Read the full exchange.)

      So Ryan has confirmed his budget includes the Medicare savings.
    Just sayin'

    August 15, 2012

    Shorter Ann Romney: People can't know more about us because then they'd like us less and that's not fair!

    Link here.

    (Seems to be Mitt Romney's belief as well.)

    PA Voter ID Law Upheld by Commonwealth Court


    Pennsylvania's new Voter ID Suppression Law, which State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai admitted was passed to help Romney win and which the State stipulated about in court that there were no known cases of voter fraud, was upheld by the Commonwealth Court today.

    So, basically, that's a big FUCK YOU to the nearly 1 million eligible voters in our state who do not possess the now needed ID.

    If you can't win on the merits of your policies or candidates, then suppress the vote...

    Time to drag your granny to PennDOT!

    There is a meeting/training session today about the new law. Via Facebook from Celeste Taylor:
    TODAY! WESTERN PA VOTER ID GATHERING: NAACP and PA Voter ID Coalition organizations based in western PA will hold an informal gathering and training session on Wednesday, August 15 at 3:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Freedom Unlimited located at 2201 Wylie Ave. in Pittsburgh (next door to the NAACP branch office). Representatives from Homer S. Brown Law Association, Black Political Empowerment Project, Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church, Team Community College of Allegheny County and 10-20 western PA organizations will participate in strategizing for continued non-partisan voter registration, voter ID, Get Out The Vote and Election Protection. For details, contact Celeste Taylor at [info @ Facebook link]. On Twitter @PAVOTERID: https://twitter.com/#!/PAVoterID , On Facebook, our page: PAVoterIDCoalition: http://www.facebook.com/pages/PAVoterIDCoalition/403831659629393  

    Selena Covers (For) Romney. Again.

    From today's Tribune-Review:
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rallied supporters in this bellwether state on Tuesday by chastising President Obama for policies that cripple America’s energy industry and the families and small businesses whose livelihoods depend on fuel producers.

    “His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that?” Romney told a cheering crowd of about 2,600 people in the village of Beallsville, where 70 miners from American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine joined him onstage. “This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he’s done, and his policies over the last three-and-a-half years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office.”
    What a silly thing to say, coal more dangerous than terrorists??  What was Joe thinking?

    Except he didn't actually say that.  In fact, when you look at the context (which Trib conservative columnist Selena Zito failed to do here) you'll find something entirely different.

    CBS did their homework and has a description of what Biden actually said:
    Campaigning in rural coal country, Mitt Romney on Tuesday revived a controversial five-year-old comment from Vice President Joe Biden as evidence that the Obama administration is insufficiently committed to energy from coal.

    In a 2007 interview on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, Biden, then a 2008 presidential candidate, was asked which is more likely to contribute to Americans' deaths - air pollution from coal, high-fructose corn syrup or a terrorist attack. Biden responded: "Air that has too much coal in it, corn syrup next, then a terrorist attack. But that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack is real. It is not an existential threat to bringing down the country, but it does have the capacity, still, to kill thousands of people. But hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives are shortened because of coal plants, coal-fired plants and because of corn syrup." [emphasis added.]

    Addressing a crowd in Beallsville, Romney attacked President Obama's energy policies and added, "His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that? This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he's done and his policies over the last three and a half years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office."
    See?  The question Biden was answering is about which causes more damage not which is more dangerous.

    What's happening here is that Romney misquoted Biden and Zito (who should know better)- let him get away with it.   CBS had the time to check, why didn't she?  We've seen this a few times (here and here) and I am beginning to sense a pattern.  Aren't you?

    Setting aside the corn syrup part - and only because it's not a part of Romney's misquote - we should then be asking ourselves, "Is Biden telling the truth?  Does coal pollution kill more people than terrorism?"

    Um, yea.  Take a look at this 2004 study from the Clean Air Task Force.  From the summary:
    Fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants cuts short the lives of nearly 24,000 people each year, including 2800 from lung cancer.
    So Romney misquoted and Zito failed to correct him.

    This is how the Trib will be covering the Romney campaign.  Get used to it.

    August 14, 2012

    Yea, Facts Be Damned

    The Tribune-Review's editorial board set up a subtle, yet typical, strawman argument in today's paper. In defending Representative Paul Ryan against the "lamestream media" bias, Scaife's braintrust writes:
    Why else would so many “reporters” parrot the Democrats’ lie that Ryan favors gutting Medicare for today’s seniors...
    In case you missed the sleight of hand, I'll repeat it for you:
    ...the Democrat's lie that Ryan favors gutting Medicare for today’s seniors...
    Now I ask you, has anyone said that?

    Let's go to the Communist Broadcast Service (aka "CBS"):
    Ryan, who since 2011 has served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has led with a controversial budget plan that would turn Medicare into what's called a "premium support" plan -- in other words, instead of paying for the benefits a senior uses, the government offers a senior a predefined amount of money to spend in a health insurance exchange.

    Starting in 2023, the plan would give seniors vouchers to purchase either private insurance or traditional, government-run insurance on an exchange. (This means that no one over 55 would see any changes to Medicare they now receive or expect.) Private insurers would compete with the traditional Medicare program to offer the best plan possible for the level of "premium support" that a senior gets. Once a senior had a plan, he would have to pay out of pocket for any health care costs the voucher couldn't cover.
    Nope. Not CBS. Nor anyone else.

    Simple fact of the matter here is that no one in the media says that Ryan's "Medicare" plan will have any effect on today's seniors.  Saying anything otherwise is the lie.  It's those people who are born after 1955 (who'd be seniors starting in 2030, if my math is correct) who'd have their Medicare gutted by Ryan's voucher program.

    Facts be damned.

    Voter ID of Last Resort News (& Just Say "No" To PA Voter ID Laws March)


    The Citizen's Call has an excellent article on what it will take to get a “last resort” ID from PennDOT for those voters who are unable to obtain crucial documentation such as birth certificates and social security cards. They won't start issuing these ID for another two weeks, by the way.

    Also, there will be a Just Say "No" to PA Voter ID Law march today. Via an email from The Thomas Merton Center:
    There is still time to RSVP for a delivery of petitions, tomorrow, Aug. 14, at 1 p.m. in downtown Pittsburgh.  
    The Just Say "No" To PA Voter ID Laws petitions call on Mark Wolosik, the Division Manager at the Allegheny County Elections Division, to join in, to the full extent of his legal authority, and Just Say No to enforcing the new Voter ID law.  
    If you can attend - advocates are meeting outside the county Court House along Grant Street at 12:45 pm to march together to the elections division offices a few streets over. The address is 436 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, 15219.  
    Please RSVP at - http://civic.moveon.org/event/justsayno/131919 .  
    If you have not yet signed the petition - please take a moment to do so at: http://signon.org/sign/just-say-no-to-pa-voter?source=s.em.cr&r_by=2830971&mailing_id=5476

    August 13, 2012

    Scaife Says Goodbye To An Old Friend

    And in doing so leads us to some, shall we say, interesting connections.

    From saturday's op-ed page:
    Many of you likely have never heard of Brian Crozier. More’s the pity. For Mr. Crozier, who died Aug. 4 on his 94th birthday, was one of this nation’s most important educators.

    No, Crozier wasn’t a teacher, per se. But he was a teacher nonetheless. In fact, he was a teacher extraordinaire.

    The native Australian began his career as a music and art critic. Then he began a long and storied tenure as an international correspondent, first with Reuters in the Far East. He later would write for The Economist and National Review, among many others.
    Oh, but he did so much more than that.  More on Crozier's bona fides:
    Crozier’s insightful reporting was years ahead of the pack. He exposed the horrors of Lenin and Stalin and detailed how misguided were the efforts to live with Communism. Detente, he showed, only emboldened the spread of Communism, undermining leaders and nations all too willing to go along to get along.

    So deep were Crozier’s sources and so accurate was his information that he became a de facto intelligence agency for British and U.S. leaders during the Cold War. As another legendary journalist, John O’Sullivan, put it, he did “more than most to bring about the collapse of Communism, and when it happened, it confirmed the truth of his brave and often unpopular criticisms.”
    Note the part about how "he became a de facto intelligence agency for British and U.S. leaders" a few decades ago.

    But the whole thing felt out of place.  Why this obituary now?  On the surface, it's obvious that it's an old man (Scaife) paying tribute to an old friend (Crozier) who's passed away.  And who can argue with that?

    On the other hand, I was still curious about who this Brian Crozier was.  So I looked up Mr Crozier and found this obit at The Guardian.  This further piqued my interest:
    In the 1960s, at MI6's suggestion, Crozier was approached by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a CIA-funded agency that financed publications around the world, including Encounter magazine in Britain. In 1966, with the help of CIA funds, he set up a British-based agency, Forum World Features, and later founded the Institute for the Study of Conflict.
    Guess who has a connection to both the Forum World Features.

    From the Washington Post in 1999:
    Scaife undertook one unusual media enterprise in his own name. In 1968, he agreed to replace John Hay Whitney, last owner of the New York Herald Tribune, as the head of the parent firm of Forum World Features, a London-based news agency that received subsidies and guidance from the CIA. The proprietor of Forum, Brian Crozier, has said he was introduced to Scaife by the CIA. Scaife has never spoken about this.
    Who knew that Richard Mellon Scaife once fronted a CIA Propaganda firm?

    But this is nothing new, my friends, the Washington Post had the story in 1975.

    August 11, 2012

    Talk about playing to your base...

    Romney introduces Ryan as the next PRESIDENT!

    New Romney - Ryan Campaign Poster

    Official results of one of the first elections Paul Ryan ever won

    (Via @RyanLizza)

    Fun With Video: Paul Ryan Booed By Seniors At Town Hall Meeting in Wisconsin Last Year

    (Text here)

    Romney to Announce VP Pick Saturday at 9:00 AM; NBC Says it's Paul Ryan

    I'm not going to hazard a guess on this because I am notoriously clueless when it comes to this particular guessing game:
  • Four years ago, I was participating in a live streaming panel discussion on the KDKA News website the night before John McCain announced his pick of Sarah Palin. Fortunately, I was unable to get out my comment that, "Well, we know it won't be a woman or an African American."  
  • Four years prior to that, I was "backstage" when John Kerry announced his VP pick. I was one of the volunteers standing by to rip open the boxes and toss out the T-shirts and rally signs emblazoned with -- unbeknownst to me at the time -- "Kerry-Edwards." I had no clue until the second Kerry said the name. (I did, however, get to shake hands with both Kerry and Edwards that same day, but at two different locations in Pittsburgh as they did not appear together in public on the day of the announcement.)
  •  Yep, I suck at this.

    August 10, 2012

    Selena Zito Does It Again.

    Take a look at this "straight news" piece from a few days ago:
    The conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity will begin airing ads on Wednesday in Pennsylvania and 10 other states, spending $6.7 million on a weeklong TV buy to criticize President Obama for the nation’s escalating debt.
    And here's how she characterizes the ad:
    The 30-second ad, airing on Pittsburgh stations WPXI, KDKA and WTAE, shows a clip from a 2009 NBC interview with Obama in which the president pledged to cut the deficit by half by the end of his first term in office.

    “I will be held accountable,” Obama said at the time. “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” The ad concludes with a rolling debt counter and urges voters: “Let’s make this a one-term proposition on Nov. 6.”
    This is the ad she's talking about:


    By the way, for those checking the details on the "I will be held accountable" part, (and you might want to pay attention to this, Salena) Obama was not talking about cutting the deficit when he made that statement.  It's two separate issues sewed together by our partisan friends at AFP.  ABC has already fact-checked the "one term proposition" part.  Take a look:
    But while there is no doubt the U.S. economy continues to struggle, an examination of the context of Obama’s 2009 comments to NBC’s Matt Lauer suggests his “proposition” might not have been as sweeping as Republicans make it out to be.

    Obama was responding to specific questions about the Troubled Asset Relief Program and whether its economic benefits would merit the costs, then estimated at $700 billion.

    “At some point will you say, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve spent this amount of money. We’re not seeing the results. We’ve got to change course dramatically?’” Lauer asked Obama.

    “Look, I’m at the start of my administration. One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. And, you know, a year from now I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress,” Obama said. “But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
    Not only did AFP cobble together the "deficit" part with the "accountable" part, they omitted the "Tarp" part, but they sliced out some more context from Obama's answer.  You can read the full transcript here.

    And Selena Zito's letting them get away with it.

    But that's not all - guess what else she left out?

    Ever wonder where Americans for Prosperity came from?  Koch Industries has an answer:
    In 1984, Dr. Richard Fink, Charles Koch and David Koch and Jay Humphreys co-founded Citizens for a Sound Economy and Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation. Over time the participants in CSE and the CSE Foundation developed different visions. In 2004, CSE became FreedomWorks and the CSE Foundation was renamed Americans for Prosperity Foundation. AFP Foundation created a 501(c)(4) organization, Americans for Prosperity. AFP and AFP Foundation have grown to more than 2 million members in all 50 states and 34 state chapters and affiliates.
    And guess, just guess who also gave a ton of money to Citizens for A Sound Economy Foundation:

    That's right, her boss Richard Mellon Scaife.

    August 9, 2012

    Pittsburgh Sikh Gurdwara - Vigil for Wisconsin Incident


    Via Facebook:

    Pittsburgh Sikh Gurdwara - Vigil for Wisconsin Incident
    Public Event

    When: Saturday, 7:30pm until 8:45pm

    Where: Pittsburgh Sikh Gurdwara, 4407 McKenzie Drive, Monroeville, PA 15146

    What: The tragic events at the Wisconsin Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) on Sunday left our entire nation devastated and shocked. We commend the bravery of the Oak Creek Police Department and others, especially, Lt. Brian Murphy, who heroically saved the lives of many. As we remember the innocent people who lost their lives, we also pray for the speedy recovery of the survivors.

    Please join us as we come together as a community, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs and solemnly share a prayer in remembrance of the innocent lives that were taken and stand together as a force against hate.

    Pennsylvania: State of Embarrassment


    Greetings from the Great State of Pennsyltucky!

    Time was when Pennsyltucky used to only refer to the more rural "T" section of our Commonwealth, the place where guys like this reside. But, after the last couple of weeks, I think that we can agree that we're all Pennsyltucky now:
  • A Pittsburgh jury refuses to find fault with three police officers in a civil trial for doing this:


  • to honor student, Jordan Miles, who was simply walking down the block from his mom's house to his grandmother's house (no criminal charges were ever filed against the officers).

  • Allegheny County's GOP chair and former county executive Jim Roddey makes a joke that anyone who would vote for President Obama is "mentally retarded."

  • And, The Daily Show mercilessly (and rightfully) mocks our new Voter ID law. Jon Stewart shows the clip of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) admitting that the new law was created to elect Mitt Romney. He also mentioned that the state's attorneys stipulated that there was no known cases of voter ID fraud in PA. However, he didn't mention that both our Governor and Secretary of State admitted they didn't actually know what's in the new law -- I guess they'd need to rename it Tragedy Central for that...

  • If you missed it last night, here's the clips:







    More On Jim Roddey, GOP Chair in Allegheny County

    By now, you've all seen the story, first reported by Tim McNulty of the P-G:
    Allegheny County's GOP chair and former county executive Jim Roddey has long been known for being quotable, and he added to that reputation tonight in a joke equating Obama supporters with the mentally disabled.

    Roddey as usual acted as MC at the election night party for state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, who won the special election to fill convicted state Sen. Jane Orie's seat in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs. Vulakovich beat Democrat Sharon Brown at about 74-26%, which Roddey said "is the largest margin we've had in 50 years!"

    That got a huge response from the partisan GOP crowd of about 200 people at Vulakovich's party, whereupon Roddey went into his Obama joke.

    "There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly -- he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, 'Sir, here's a place.' And he said, 'That's a handicapped space.' I said, 'Oh I'm so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded."
    For the record, he's since apologized:
    In email today, Mr. Roddey called his remarks "regrettable," and added, "I have a long record of supporting people with disabilities and should have remembered that before I spoke. My remarks were inappropriate and I apologize."
    By the way, the crowd reportedly "hollered and clapped" at Roddey's inappropriate and regrettable remarks.  None of them have reportedly apologized.

    I was wondering just how big of an embarrassment was this for Mr Roddey?  That is to say, how far did the story get?  Let's see.

    There's the left leaning Huffingtonpost:
    A long-time Pennsylvania GOP official reportedly earned a warm reception Tuesday for comparing a supporter of President Obama to someone who is "mentally retarded."
    And the right leaning Blaze:
    Jim Roddey, reportedly a long-time Pennsylvania GOP official and county chair, is making headlines after implying that a driver is “mentally retarded” for having an Obama bumper sticker on his car.
    Do you like how they're distancing themselves from Roddey there? He's not described as the head of the Allegheny County GOP, but "reportedly a long time Pennsylvania GOP official."  As if there's some doubt.

    The story made it onto the Political Wire and the Daily Caller and Mediaite.

    So the story spread far and wide, at least among political...uh...junkies.  And that's gotta be embarrassing for Mr Roddey.

    Hey, did you know that Roddey's on the Board of Trustees for the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy?

    That's the local conservative think-tank whose foundation support is made up almost entirely of Scaife money.  The same Scaife that owns the another Pittsburgh News outlet, the Tribune-Review.

    Hey, did you know that the Trib has not yet mentioned Roddey's inappropriate and regrettable attempt at humor?

    Interesting, isn't it?

    August 8, 2012

    The Trib Is Really Pushing The Voter Fraud Fraud

    First there's this, today:
    Those who question the necessity of voter ID laws should consider the developing case of a Florida woman dubbed a “ballot broker” by The Miami Herald.

    She’s Hialeah resident Daisy Cabrera, and she’s being investigated by Miami-Dade detectives and state prosecutors after she was found in possession of at least a dozen absentee ballots belonging to other voters.
    You can read the story here.

    Scaife's braintrust ends it's piece with this:
    Whether it’s large-scale, ACORN-style, or small-scale, Cabrera-style, vote fraud is real — a real threat to the voting rights of all. And voter ID laws are necessary to counter that threat.
    But take even a cursory look at the details coming out of Miami.  Cabrera is alleged to have, among other things, filled out and signed at least one absentee ballot for someone else.

    The braintrust, you'll note, never explains how a showing a photo ID before voting would "counter the threat" to our democracy that Cabrera's 31 absentee ballots pose.

    Oh, and again ACORN was playing with voter registrations.  Voter registration fraud is not the same as voter fraud.

    No matter how many times you tell the lie, it's still a lie folks.

    Then there's this, from a few days ago:
    Without question, Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law undermines the Democrats’ long-standing strategy of using voter fraud to secure electoral victory.
    Now I am sure that the author of that sentence, Kathleen Jones Goldman, chair of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association, is a fine attorney.

    But even she has to recognize the dishonesty of that sentence.  Given this, from the New York Times:
    Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
    Can she explain how this "long standing strategy" failed detection by the Bush administration DOJ?

    Either the Bush DOJ was completely incompetent or the Voter fraud that Goldman sees just doesn't exist.

    So which is it?

    August 7, 2012

    The Adventures of Romney Hood

    STAMFORD, Conn. — President Barack Obama is labeling opponent Mitt Romney's tax plan as "Romney Hood," saying it takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

    Speaking Monday night at a campaign event in Connecticut, Obama said the GOP plan "is like Robin Hood in reverse."

    Obama says Romney's tax plan would give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while forcing middle-class families to pay up to $2,000 a year in additional taxes.

    August 6, 2012

    Obama for America v. Husted, 12-cv-636

    First, we'll start with the complaint and then move on to how the media he says/she says it.

    The complaint begins with:
    Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day – a right exercised by an estimated 93,000 Ohioans in the last presidential election. Ohio election law, as currently enacted by the State of Ohio and administered by Defendant Ohio Secretary of State, arbitrarily eliminates early voting during the three days prior to Election Day for most Ohio voters, Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be rectified by the Court enjoining enforcement of statutory changes that eliminate early in-person voting for most Ohioans during the three days before an election.a right previously available to all Ohio voters. This disparate treatment violates 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth [emphasis added.]
    What happened that they feel they need to restore it?

    That's in the next paragraph:
    Specifically, taken together, Amended Substitute House Bill Number 194 (“HB 194”), Amended Substitute House Bill Number 224 (“HB 224”) and Substitute Senate Bill Number 295 (“SB 295”), all enacted by the 129th Ohio General Assembly, impose different deadlines for in-person voting prior to Election Day (“early voting”) on similarly situated voters. Prior to the enactment of these laws, there was a single uniform deadline of the Monday before Election Day for inperson early voting. After the enactment of these laws, voters using the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (“UOCAVA”) may vote early in-person at a board of elections office up through the Monday before Election Day, while non-UOCAVA voters can vote early in-person at a board of elections office (or designated alternate site) only up until 6 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.
    The 129th Ohio General Assembly is the current General Assembly (as of August, 2012). So these are recent changes - that is changes since the last presidential election.

    The complaint is to restore the Ohio voting law to what it was before these laws were enacted.

    So on with the he says/she says.  From ABC News:
    A new flap in the ongoing battle on voting equality began this week when Mitt Romney accused President Obama's re-election committee of suing to restrict military voting rights in Ohio. And while Romney did not address the issue campaigning in Indiana today, he called the lawsuit "an outrage" in a written statement "The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote," it reads. "I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters."

    Republicans say a lawsuit brought by Obama for America in July seeks to eliminate additional time for in-person early voting allotted to service members in the battleground state. Democrats, on the other hand, contend the presumptive GOP nominee is deliberately trying to distort the facts.

    "Mitt Romney is falsely accusing the Obama campaign of trying to restrict military voting in Ohio," a Friday statement said. "In fact, the opposite is true: The Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan has early voting rights, including military members and their families."
    See that?  Which side is actually telling the truth? ABC never quite gets there.  In fact it takes two more paragraphs for ABC to say:
    [T]he Obama campaign sued the Buckeye State last month to block those laws from taking effect, restoring weekend voting as it was in 2008. Democrats say those last days before Nov. 6give a crucial extra cushion for Americans who might not have had the opportunity to enter the voting booth in the days prior. If the challenge is successful, they say, military voters would not see any difference in their rights. [Emphasis added.]
    And if they quoted (or even read) the complaint they'd see that that is true.

    So, what does that say about ABC reporting Romney's "stand" to "defending the rights of military voters"?

    Or the media's "get both sides to tell their side and we've proved our objectivity" stand?

    August 5, 2012

    The Trib Fails To Disclose. Again.

    But this time in a news feature.

    It's one thing for Scaife's braintrust to fail to disclose his financial support for the conservative think tanks it's using as source material on the editorial page (and that's bad enough) but for the news division to do so, well, it's almost as if these old blurbs from Brill's Content from 2001 are still true:
    According to interviews with 21 current and former employees at the Tribune-Review, Scaife frequently pushes his political and personal agendas into the paper, often misleading readers in the process. "As a reporter, I want to make a solid argument that my reporting is objective," says one staffer at a Scaife-owned paper. "I don't think I have the high moral ground to do that anymore."
    And:
    Not only has Scaife occasionally suited news coverage to his taste, he has done it in a way that leaves readers unaware of his tinkering. He pushes the paper to run stories that rely on quotes or reports from organizations he funds, yet the articles rarely disclose Scaife's connection. The result is a kind of "information laundering," as one former reporter calls it. When a Scaife-inspired article that quotes a Scaife-funded foundation is published in the Tribune-Review, the story appears more reputable than it otherwise would.
    But let's get down to specifics.  Specifically this article (it's on the front page, by the way), titled:
    GOP group focused on policy, not party
    Which group?  Let's see:
    A conservative interest group is working to “improve the gene pool” in Congress, a spokesman said.

    But the typical target of this group is unusual: Republicans.

    The Washington-based Club for Growth often targets GOP lawmakers who stray from a conservative philosophy on tax, spending and free-trade issues. Its willingness to take on Republicans in primaries sets it apart.
    Ah, the Club for Growth.  And guess what the reporter fails to mention?
    • Scaife donated $50,000 to the Club for Growth Action in 2010.
    • Scaife donated $75,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth in 2003.
    • Scaife donated $50,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth in 2004.
    • Scaife donated $25,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth Inc in 2005.
    That's 200,000 reasons why there should have been a mention.  But let's dig further.

    First there's this:
    In 2004, Toomey came within 17,000 votes of beating Sen. Arlen Specter in a Republican primary even though the GOP establishment, including President George W. Bush and then-Sen. Rick Santorum, supported Specter.

    The Club considered Specter a Republican-in-name-only, or “RINO,” and a liberal Republican who had to go, said Barney Keller, Club’s spokesman. By 2010, Specter changed his party registration to Democrat and lost the primary to former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. Toomey, who was the Club’s president from 2005 through 2009, defeated Sestak in the general election. The Club for Growth spent $2.6 million on Toomey’s behalf.
    Do we need to discuss the $21,000 Scaife donated to Toomey For Senate between 2003 and 2009?

    Then there's these two references:
    Club-backed Republican Sharon Angle, who won a three-way primary but lost in 2010 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid...
    And:
    The Club helped challenger Richard Mourdock defeat veteran GOP Sen. Richard Lugar...
    Do I need to point out Scaife's support of Angle in 2006 ($2100) and Mourdock in 2012 ($2500)?

    All that money and no mention of it?

    I guess Scaife's influence on the Tribune-Review's news coverage continues.