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Another day, another financial debacle for Tea Party-led Kansas

In a story that should shock no one, the financial experiment that is Kansas will mark a new low this month, as revenues again miss their (already lowered) expectations by $33M.

Kansas will miss revenue expectations for June by more than $33 million, according to two sources in state government.
That comes on top of the $45 million shortfall the state already faced for the 2016 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The revenue comes shortly after the State of Kansas was pushed to resolve school funding concerns by selling off state assets — though the Governor’s office assures the public that this budget short fall will not impact the funds allows schools to open, they also noted many school districts may have to wait on money, as the state will delay payments.
Budget director Shawn Sullivan told the State Finance Council last week that fund sweeps and a possible delay of state payments to school districts probably would be necessary to keep the state above zero for the end of the fiscal year, as required by Kansas law.
Nothing says economic success like being forced to sell off your assets to pay bills and then delaying future bills because you can’t afford them.

And this, folks, is what Tea Party economics gets you.

Texas Supreme Court says home-schooling parents do not need to teach anything if they believe they will soon be taken up to Heaven in "The Rapture." This is NOT a joke. It's Texas.

This is NOT a joke.

The Texas Supreme Court has cleared the way for religious ignorance to be passed on to Lone Star State children by doing…absolutely nothing. A lower court ruling allowed for Texas homeschoolers to legally teach their children absolutely zilch if they believe their family is waiting to be raptured.
Yes, you heard that right. Your children don’t need to learn if the Lord is returning to take you to heaven. It makes sense if you’re a lunatic, but to those of us who have watched with giddy delight as people stood on their lawns on the day the rapture was supposed to happen only to have their dreams shattered, you realize that at some point that kind of idiocy should be forbidden to be passed down to their children.

Not the religious nonsense; you’re welcome to teach them all the zealotry you desire. There’s always a chance that can be undone when they begin having independent thought. Refusing to educate them, however, isn’t just a travesty, it’s neglect. A lower court ruled in favor of a couple whose family turned them in for just that when they argued that being horrible parents was protected under the 14th amendment. The high court remanded the case to that court because its constitutional questions weren’t educational policy matters, whatever that means. They didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the case at all.

We can only assume that it means that the state of Texas is stacked with dimwits to the highest level. They care about nothing but keeping Republicans in control. In order to do that, you have to ensure a base of ignorant, uneducated people who can be trained to punch a ballot based on pure hate for the poor — even if they ARE poor — minorities, LGBTs and anyone who isn’t a white-Jesus fearing Christian. Add a little fear of terrorists crossing the border with grenade launchers and you have a massive electoral stash willing to put corruption in power until the end of time.

For those of you who are not familiar with "The Rapture" -- the rapture is a fundamental belief by certain evangelical, fundamentalist Protestant sects.  These people believe that one day Jesus will descend from Heaven and call to him all true believers who then will be swept up to Heaven with him.  They believe, when "The Rapture" occurs:  if a true believer is driving, the car will suddenly be driverless; if the true believer is an airline pilot, suddenly the airplane will be without a pilot -- only an empty seat; true believers will suddenly just disappear, leaving the rest of us behind.

If you are interested in learning more about this nonsense, use Google.

The Battle of the Greasy Grass

Today -- June 25, 2016 -- is the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Greasy Grass -- at least that's what the Lakota Sioux call the event.  We white people call it "The Battle of the Little Bighorn."

Okay - - - enuf is e-goddam-nuf

Time for the Berniebots to sitthefuckdown and shutthefuckup.

Back when Bernie first burst on the scene, he was cute and I paid some attention to him.

Now it's clear he's nothing but an angry, bitter old fart.

As a college student in Alabama in the 1960's, I marched with John Lewis and MLK.  I spent some time in Bull Connor's jail.  When I was dodging the Klan down back roads in Mississippi, where was Bernie??  Parading around Berkeley with some smelly hippies while the rest of us did the dangerous work.

I was putting it on the line when 99.5% of today's Berniebots were not even a wet spot on their momma's sheets.


Half an hour of Sarah Palin followed by one hour of Donald Trump?!?!?!?!?

Courtesy of Politico:  

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin will kick off a major conservative convention together on July 1 in Denver, organizers of the Western Conservative Summit announced Wednesday. 

The former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate will speak, as will Trump on the first day of the summit, which bills itself as the "largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, DC." Organizers told The Denver Post that Palin's speech will be a half hour and Trump is slated to speak for an hour, though the order has not been determined. 

SWEETMARYMOTHEROFGOD!!!  Half an hour of Sarah Palin followed by an hour of Donald Trump??   The hall will be waist-deep in bullshit when it's over!!!

Here's another way rightwing Tea Partiers waste taxpayers' money: Drug testing welfare recipients . . . total waste of time and money, but, the Tea Party loves it.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who faced criticism earlier this year for his handling of the water crisis in Flint, could face more pushback after the apparent failure of his program requiring drug tests for welfare users.

The Guardian reported that none of the 303 people tested under the auspices of the Family Independence Program have tested positive for drugs as of the end of May. 

The pilot program ends on Sept. 30 and received $300,000 in state funding, although a spokesperson for the state health department said only $300 had been spent thus far.

“The governor will wait until the pilot program has concluded and the report is delivered, as required by the legislation, to reach any conclusions,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder’s office.
The program allows health department officials to require applicants to go through a drug test based on the results of the 50-question screening process. Refusal to do so disqualifies them from receiving financial assistance for six months. However, none of the applicants reportedly refused to go through the test.

As Think Progress reported last year, several other states with similar programs also found little evidence of high drug use among social program recipients. For instance, only 11 out of 2,783 applicants in Kansas’ program tested positive.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, these misguided policies are devoid of any scientific credibility and have proven to be a colossal waste of our time and money,” said Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who recently proposed a measure that would make drug tests mandatory for people reporting deductions of more than $150,000 on their tax returns.


Congressman John Lewis (D, GA) -- whose head was split open by an Alabama state trooper at the Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL -- has now been attacked by House Republicans.

Lewis was leading House Democrats in a sit-in to demand Congressional action on guns control and the goddam Republicans who control the House pulled the plug on the C-SPAN cameras!!!!!!

That piece of shit muthahfukah Paul Ryan actually reached over and pulled the plug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 



C-SPAN Fights Back Against Paul Ryan Blackout And Shows Live Video of Democratic Protest

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan turned off C-SPAN’s cameras, but he was not able to stop the network from broadcasting video of the Democratic protest that has shut down the House of Representatives that is being shot by Rep. Scott Peters and shown on Periscope.

C-SPAN’s broadcast of the Democratic live stream contains a hint of their displeasure over Speaker Ryan’s decision to turn off the cameras:


Speaker Ryan made a huge mistake by trying to black out the protest. As soon as Ryan turned off C-SPAN’s cameras on the House floor, interest in the protest grew exponentially. 

Democrats on the House floor are hearing that Republicans are getting nervous about the protest, but they are afraid to give in. Republicans fear that giving in for the Democrats’ demand for a vote on gun control would lead to more problems for them later.

The idea of doing what the vast majority of Americans support doesn’t enter into the minds of House Republicans. The Republicans aren’t going to allow a vote on common sense gun legislation. It doesn’t matter what the American people want. The attitude of putting the NRA first, and the American people last is why Democrats have shut down the House, and it is also why Republicans deserve to be tossed out of the majority in November.  


The fact of Republican racism

The Republican Party and their creation, the Tea Party, is the party of today's racists and white supremacists. Yes, they are.  Whenever I point out this fact, Republicans and Tea Partiers respond with two excuses:

  1. The Democratic Party is the party of the Ku Klux Klan.
  2. The Democratic Party opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 While there is some truth in both these comments, they are wrong for a simple reason:  History did not stop in 1964 or 1965.

I am a Southerner.  Born and reared in the Mississippi Delta.  Great- and Great-great-grandson of major plantation owners and slave owners.  I count 14 Confederate soldiers in my ancestry, including one Confederate general officer.  When I was growing up in Mississippi in the 1950's, when someone spoke of "the war," more than likely he was talking about the Civil War, not the recently-ended World War II.  I know racism when I see it and I know the history of the South because I lived it.

Yes, it is true the Democratic Party WAS the party of the Klan.  That ended in the late 1960's

No, the Democratic Party did not oppose either the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act.

And today, it is the Republican Party that is the part of the Klan and the party that is actively working to deny to people of color their basic rights, especially the right to vote.

First, let's examine the facts about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
With Republicans having trouble with minorities, some like to point out that the party has a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats. Democrats, for example, were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s. Democrats were more likely to filibuster. Yet, a closer look at the voting coalitions suggests a more complicated picture that ultimately explains why Republicans are not viewed as the party of civil rights.

Let's use the 1964 Civil Rights Act as our focal point. It was arguably the most important of the many civil rights bills passed in the middle part of the 20th century. It outlawed many types of racial and sexual discrimination, including access to hotels, restaurants, and theaters. In the words of Vice President Biden, it was a big "f-ing deal".

When we look at the party vote in both houses of Congress, it fits the historical pattern. Republicans are more in favor of the bill:

80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster.

Of course, it was also Democrats who helped usher the bill through the House, Senate, and ultimately a Democratic president who signed it into law. The bill wouldn't have passed without the support of Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, a Democrat. Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey, who basically split the Democratic party in two with his 1948 Democratic National Convention speech calling for equal rights for all, kept tabs on individual members to ensure the bill had the numbers to overcome the filibuster.

Put another way, party affiliation seems to be somewhat predictive, but something seems to be missing. So, what factor did best predicting voting?

You don't need to know too much history to understand that the South from the civil war to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tended to be opposed to minority rights. This factor was separate from party identification or ideology. We can easily control for this variable by breaking up the voting by those states that were part of the confederacy and those that were not.

You can see that geography was far more predictive of voting coalitions on the Civil Rights than party affiliation. What linked Dirksen (R) and Mansfield (D) was the fact that they weren't from the South. In fact, 90% of members of Congress from states (or territories) that were part of the Union voted in favor of the act, while less than 10% of members of Congress from the old Confederate states voted for it. This 80 point difference between regions is far greater than the 15 point difference between parties.

But what happens when we control for both party affiliation and region? As Sean Trende noted earlier this year, "sometimes relationships become apparent only after you control for other factors".

In this case, it becomes clear that Democrats in the north and the south were more likely to vote for the bill than Republicans in the north and south respectively. This difference in both houses is statistically significant with over 95% confidence. It just so happened southerners made up a larger percentage of the Democratic than Republican caucus, which created the initial impression than Republicans were more in favor of the act.

Nearly 100% of Union state Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act compared to 85% of Republicans. None of the southern Republicans voted for the bill, while a small percentage of southern Democrats did.

The same pattern holds true when looking at ideology instead of party affiliation. The folks over at found that the more liberal a congressman or senator was the more likely he would vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, once one controlled for a factor closely linked to geography.

That's why Strom Thurmond left the Democratic party soon after the Civil Rights Act passed. He recognized that of the two parties, it was the Republican party that was more hospitable to his message. The Republican candidate for president in 1964, Barry Goldwater, was one of the few non-Confederate state senators to vote against the bill. He carried his home state of Arizona and swept the deep southern states – a first for a Republican ever.

Now, it wasn't that the Civil Rights Act was what turned the South against the Democrats or minorities against Republicans. Those patterns, as Trende showed, had been developing for a while. It was, however, a manifestation of these growing coalitions. The South gradually became home to the conservative party, while the north became home to the liberal party.

Today, the transformation is nearly complete. President Obama carried only 18% of former Confederate states, while taking 62% of non-Confederate states in 2012. Only 27% of southern senators are Democrats, while 62% of Union state senators are Democrats. And 29% of southern members in the House are Democrats compared to 54% in states or territories that were part of the Union.

Thus, it seems to me that minorities have a pretty good idea of what they are doing when joining the Democratic party. They recognize that the Democratic party of today looks and sounds a lot more like the Democratic party of the North that with near unity passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 than the southern Democrats of the era who blocked it, and today would, like Strom Thurmond, likely be Republicans.

And there you have it.  The claim that Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a lie.  The truth is that SOUTHERNERS opposed the Act . . . both Southern Democrats and Southern Republicans.  Democrats and Republicans from the rest of the nation supported the Act.

Lyndon Johnson was a Southerner who knew the South.  On the eve of his signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Johnson told on aide -- Bill Moyers:  "I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come."     LBJ was right.  

Second, let's look at the Republican record on civil rights and the treatment of minorities since 1964-65.

In 1982, Republican operative Lee Atwater gave an interview to Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University, in which he explained how the so-called “Southern Strategy” of focusing on race had become much more subtle by the 1980s.

Atwater, who apologized to Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis for the “naked cruelty” of his tactics before his early death in 1991, put it like this:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Some conservatives questioned whether the controversial words credited to Atwater were ever truly spoken by the man who helped George H.W. Bush win the presidency using tactics like the so-called “Willie Horton” ad. After the racially charged 2012 campaign — in which the Romney campaign used racial dogwhistles including insinuating that the president was trying to “take the work out of welfare” — James Carter IV, the son of the former president and the researcher who unearthed the “47 Percent” tape, convinced Lamis’ widow to release the audio above.

Atwater was in his own way echoing what President Lyndon B. Johnson once told his press secretary, Bill Moyers.

"I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” President Johnson. “If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.”

It’s clear that these old narratives are deeply embedded in Republican and Tea Party politics. And in the post-birther era, race is no longer, as Atwater said in 1982, “on the back burner.”

While the right wants to focus on black culture and “black-on-black” crime, they refuse to acknowledge that “white-on-white” crime is statistically nearly as common and happens much more often, as white people, who are the vast majority of the population, commit the vast majority of violent crimes in this country.

Negative aspersions on so-called “food stamps,” like Ronald Reagan’s old “welfare queens,” often carry a racial connotation. But government assistance in this country is actually used by ethnic groups pretty much in proportion to their share of the population:

African-Americans, who make up 22 percent of the poor, receive 14 percent of government benefits, close to their 12 percent population share.

White non-Hispanics, who make up 42 percent of the poor, receive 69 percent of government benefits – again, much closer to their 64 percent population share.

But these statistics fade into the background as Trayvon Martin instantly becomes a thug when he puts up his hood in the rain.

Of course, Republicans and Tea Partiers like to dismiss Lee Atwater as just a party functionary with no real power.  Not true.  Atwater was to Nixon what Karl Rove was to George Bush.  His words are the policies of the Republican Party.  But let's turn from Atwater and look at a real hero of the Republican Party and the Tea Party:  Saint Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was reared in Illinois in a modest, middle-class family.  After graduating from a small, church-affiliated college, Reagan went to California to seek his fortune.

In mid-July 1980, Reagan was nominated by the Republican Party as their Presidential candidate.  On August 3, 1980 -- only two weeks into his campaign -- Reagan made an appearance and a speech that set the tone of his campaign and his administration, as well as underlining the importance of Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy."    Reagan appeared at the Neshoba County Fair where he gave a speech.  Reagan's choice of location for the speech (the fairgrounds were about 7 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town that was the scene of the 1964 murders of civil rights workers) was evidence of racial bias.

During his speech, Reagan said:  "I believe in states' rights . . . . " -- and the crowd went wild.
Now, those of you who are not Southerners need to understand something.  When a Southerner says or hears the term "states' rights," he is not talking about the 10th Amendment and its provision about rights of the states and rights of the federal government.  No.  When a Southerner hears or uses the term "states' rights," he means "the right of the states to treat our niggers any way we want to without any interference from Washington."  And that, folks, is a direct quote from a Mississippi politician to me in 1996.

Today -- 2016 -- the Republican Party is the party of the KKK; the party of racism; the party that is working hard to suppress the right of some people to vote.

Republicans, Tea Partiers and other rightwingers can argue all they want to but the fact is simple:  Today's Republican Party is the Jim Crow Democratic Party of the past.

Republicans don't want to keep guns out of the hands of domestic terrorists because THAT'S THEIR BASE!!!!

A week before Christmas, a small-town Ohio police chief spotted an SUV going 20 mph below the speed limit and stopped the motorist on suspicion of texting while driving.

The chief glimpsed a loaded 9 mm Smith and Wesson handgun in a bag between the passenger’s feet — but the routine stop became tense after he noticed the driver’s name on a national terrorist watch list.

Newtown police later said the driver, a right-wing Internet broadcaster named Pete Santilli, was not actually listed in terror database — but the incident sheds some light on conservative reluctance to ban suspected terrorists and the mentally ill from owning firearms.

Put simply: An awful lot of right-wing conservatives believe their Second Amendment rights kick in when their First Amendment talents fail — and they stoke their fears of government overreach with paranoid conspiracy theories that sometimes resemble mental illness.

The 51-year-old Santilli, who became radicalized by 9/11 “truther” conspiracy theories and hosted militia members and other right-wing extremists on his “Off the Hook in the Morning” program, fits those categories.

Santilli, who had recently moved from California to join his girlfriend in the Cincinnati area, was charged during the traffic stop with illegally carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, but the case was quickly and inexplicably dropped.

But just 15 days later, Santilli showed up in Burns, Oregon, where he filmed a protest that turned into a monthlong occupation of a national wildlife preserve by many of the same armed anti-government militants who had engaged federal agents in a 2014 showdown at the Bundy ranch in Nevada.
The occupation captured and sustained national media attention, which stories about right-wing extremists infrequently do — mostly because social media users mocked the militants as “Y’all Qaeda” terrorists or “Vanilla ISIS,” and answered their pleas for snacks by mailing them dildos and comically large barrels of personal lubricant.

Joking aside, a serious debate could be had about whether the militants led by Ammon Bundy and his brother, Ryan, were terrorists.

The federal government apparently doesn’t think so.

None of the militants who were arrested in connection with the armed occupation, including Santilli, have been hit with any terrorism-related charges — but rather some combination of charges such as conspiracy to impede federal officers, firearm possession at a federal facility, carry of a firearm in relation to a violent crime, and depredation of government property.

But the government had been watching many of the militants since the Bundy ranch standoff, and some of them had attracted attention from law enforcement by threatening lawmakers, government authorities and minority groups before taking over federal land to protest federal ownership of public lands.

The militants attracted support from several Republican lawmakers, and Ammon Bundy claims backing from unspecified corporate “deep pockets” who share their anti-government aims.

It’s not clear whether any of the militants — except possibly Santilli, who was investigated by the Secret Service in 2013 after saying he wanted to shoot Hillary Clinton “right in the vagina” — were ever placed on the terrorist watch list.

The database, which identifies about 10,000 Americans among an estimated 700,000 names, is necessarily secret, for both privacy and national security reasons — and its existence is controversial to both liberals and conservatives.

Republicans have done the bidding of the National Rifle Association and blocked legislation that would prohibit anyone named on the terrorist watch list from buying or owning guns.

Some conservatives have softened their opposition after a 29-year-old who had been named on the list gunned down 49 people and wounded 53 more at an Orlando gay nightclub.

There are plenty of legitimate concerns about the database and the process for getting names removed — but there’s an underlying assumption the terrorist gun ban violates the Second Amendment because conservatives would be unfairly targeted.

And a lot of conservatives believe the Second Amendment gives them a right to use firearms as political expression.

“I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box,” said gun lobbyist Larry Pratt.

“Failing all other appeals to peaceful means … the founders’ solution to such tyranny is still available, still potent, and still waiting, for when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote,” said Mike Vanderboegh, the co-founder of the “III Percenters” gun militia.
Even Republican lawmakers have argued that the Second Amendment grants them the right to point guns at law enforcement officers.

“Once you point your firearm at me, I’m sorry, then it becomes self-defense,” said Michelle Fiore, a Nevada assemblywoman who backed the Bundy militants in Oregon and at their family’s ranch. “Whether you’re a stranger, a bad guy, or an officer, and you point your gun at me and you’re gonna shoot me and I have to decide whether it’s my life or your life, I choose my life.”

Those statements — which could conceivably attract the interest of law enforcement or potentially land a person, unfairly or otherwise, on a terrorist watch list — go a long way toward explaining why some right-wing conservatives might oppose a gun ban for suspected terrorists.

Opposition to the ban runs strong among hardcore gun-rights supporters — who sometimes warn darkly that Americans could be identified as enemies of the state simply by voting Republican or attending church.

They also warn that holding certain conservative views could lead to a mental illness diagnosis, which might disqualify from owning firearms they’ll need to fight government tyranny.

The psychiatric profession doesn’t consider fanaticism a mental disorder — but there’s still some confusion because no clear boundary separates religious and political extremism from mental illness.
“One man’s cherished belief is another man’s delusion,” explained Dr. Allen Frances, former chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and a professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine.

Those conspiracy theories have moved from the political fringes and the bumper sticker rack at gun shops, where they’ve existed in some form for decades, to the conservative mainstream during the Obama administration.

Last year’s Jade Helm 15 hysteria, which turned a military training exercise into wild-eyed tales of foreign troops disarming and rounding up registered Republicans and herding them into FEMA camps housed in disused Walmart stores, is just one example.

Those fears are stoked by talk radio hosts such as Alex Jones, who has hosted the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump — who himself floats conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama that feed back into the paranoid mindset that causes right-wing conservatives to cling even more tightly to their guns.

Trump’s presidential campaign was linked to both the Bundy ranch and the Oregon occupation through Jerry DeLemus, who served as the New Hampshire co-chair of the Veterans for Trump organization but is now jailed for his role in both armed anti-government protests.

Which brings us back to Santilli, who remains jailed for his role in the Bundy ranch standoff and the Malheur occupation.

“I have political opponents that some of whom actually have access to the terror watch list,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in December. “I believe that what he saw was my name and my vehicle associated with someone on the terror watch list. Somebody who had access to that terror watch list wanted to use it as political intimidation.”

For all his overheated rhetoric about jackboot thugs seizing guns on flimsy pretenses, he was free to travel to Oregon to participate in an armed uprising against the federal government just two weeks after his arrest on gun charges.

The arresting officer pointed a gun at him after mistaking him for a terrorist — but Santilli said he was nice about it.

“He was extremely professional, constitutional — he was very, very courteous when he pulled me over,” Santilli said.

Right-wing conservatives like to imagine their trusty gun will protect them from a tyrannical threat that doesn’t really exist — and the firearms industry happily indulges them with grim fantasies.
But the reality is, too many Americans are killed by someone who never should have owned a gun in the first place.

This is very strange

Let's lay to waste this bit of rightwing bullshit

In the wake of the Orlando murders, the rightwing noise machine -- supported by various gunnut, "special ops," and similar loon-based websites -- have started telling us that, well, no, the killer did not use an AR-15,  Instead, he used a SigSauer MCX carbine.

Well, that's a relief.  And I know the families of the people he killed are relieved to know their loved ones did not die with an AR-15 bullet.


If you espouse this "not an AR-15" claim, then, the only thing you are doing is revealing just how goddam stupid you are.

One of the jackasses spreading this irrelevant bullshit is former Marine, Dakota Meyer, recipient of the Medal of Honor and recently married to Bristol Palin, with whom he had a baby born last November.  The fact that he's associated with the Palin family tells us all we need to know about his intelligence.

How much does it cost to buy a Texas Congressman? Try $5.5 million and you'll have your very own Texas Congressman.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's big policy-making binge to try to make people forget that Republicans have settled on Donald Trump continued apace this week. That included a proposal from Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, to dismantle Dodd-Frank—and most of the important financial reforms it encompassed.
Key provisions would reduce the power of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and allow banks to avoid stricter oversight by increasing the amount of capital they hold.
That sounds smart! Banks don't need no stinking oversight, amirite? If you smell the interference of Wall Street in Hensarling's big plan, you've got a very good nose.
Simply put, Dodd-Frank is cutting into the bottom line of the financial services industry and Hensarling is coming to its rescue. By July 2015, the CFPB (which again, was created by Dodd-Frank) had returned more than $10.8 billion to more than 25 million Americans harmed by illegal practices of the financial industry.
It is no surprise that Rep. Hensarling would announce his intentions to gut Dodd-Frank; he has received nearly $5.5 million in campaign contributions from key financial industry interests since 2010.  Furthermore, as this report details, Hensarling’s House Financial Services Committee has become a revolving door with numerous members of his staff either coming from, or leaving to work in, the financial industry.
It goes way beyond the frankly astonishing $5.5 million the financial industry has invested in Hensarling himself.

Three of the most extreme wackadoodles ever rant, rave, spew hate at Trump rally in Richmond. Of course they support Trump.

I mean, what can you even say about these three speakers (State Senator Dick Black, National GOP Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar, Prince William County Board Chair Corey Stewart)?

First, let’s listen to Sen. Dick Black —  just back from his trip to Syria to embrace war criminal and dictator/tyrant, Syrian President Bashar Assad to speak in support of wannabe dictator/tyrant Donald Trump. According to Black, President Hillary Clinton would “stack the U.S. Supreme Court with Marxists like you have never seen before.” Black further warns, apocalyptically (as is his wont): “Is there anybody who really believes that there’s going to be religious freedom or gun rights at the end of 8 years? Not a chance!”

Oh wait, there’s even more lunacy: Black falsely claims that Hillary Clinton wants to “surrender U.S. sovereignty to international organizations.” Black somehow manages to allege, bizarrely/insanely, that “the Clintons worked very hard for the Communist side” during the Vietnam war, asking, “how many of those [American soldiers in Vietnam] died because of Bill and Hillary Clinton and the work that they did for the Communists during that war?” Ee gads, so anyone who opposed the Vietnam War has blood on their hands? Gotcha.

Finally, there’s one thing I DO agree with crazy Dick Black about: this election is far too important to sit out; instead, we need massive turnout for the Democratic ticket by Latinos, working Americans, middle-class Americans, African Americans, women, young people, LGBT Americans, disabled Americans, and any American who values our democracy, rule of law and Constitution/Bill of Rights.

P.S. For a sampling of Dick Black lunacy, see: What Is It With Loudoun Republicans?!? Dick Black on Spousal Rape, “Nighties,” etc., The Truth About Dick Black (e.g., called birth control pills “baby pesticides,” passed out “pink plastic fetus dolls to state lawmakers in 2003 in a creepy campaign to win votes for various anti-abortion measures,” called “An Embarrassment to us all” by John Feegel, a former Chief of Staff to the Republican Leader in the Virginia House of Delegates); Republican Loudoun-sanity Continues: Dick Black Rails Against Gays in the Military (“there was a young fellow who went to the showers at night, there were two homosexuals lurking — they were also basic trainees – and they strangled him with a towel and forced him to submit to, you know, things that we won’t talk about”);Sen. Dick Black (R-Homophobia): Polygamy “just more natural” than homosexuality; VA Sen. Dick Black (R) Praises “Extraordinary Gallantry” of Syrian Armed Forces, GOP Candidate Who Made Marital Rape Remarks Drops Out of Congressional Race, etc, etc.

Next up, how about Republican National Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar, who falsely claims that our country “has been stolen right out from under us,” that President Obama “does not defend the convention,” that “we do not consent to Obamacare…to Common Core state standards…to the senseless slaughter of American citizens in Benghazi…to the use of taxpayer dollars to…dictate to our local school districts how to handle our bathrooms,” blah blah blah.

So who’s Cynthia Dunbar, you ask? As RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro writes, she is “a religious conservative who, as a member of the Texas Board of Education, was fiercely hostile to the state’s public schools.” Let’s get more specific, per Right Wing Watch (bolding added by me for emphasis):

Before joining Liberty University, the evangelical school founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, Dunbar stoked national controversy when she tried to insert historical revisionist views into the Texas public school curriculum and textbooks. Since many textbooks are designed for the large Texas market, the changes, which would have placed a right-wing spin on American history and the U.S. Constitution, would have had an impact in other states as well.

Among other far-right views, Dunbar says she opposes the separation of church and state since she believes the founders wanted the government to promote religion. After leaving the school board, Dunbar admitted that she tried to shape the state’s curriculum in order to cure America of being a “biblically illiterate society” byteaching “the ‘laws of nature’s God’ revealed through the Holy Scripture.”

That came as no surprise, as Dunbar once led the board in praying for “a Christian land governed by Christian principles” and asserting that the Bill of Rights came straight out of the Bible. She similarly told a Washington, D.C., prayer rally that schools cannot instruct in an environment “devoid of the presence of the most high God,” praying for God to “invade our schools.” In a speech in favor of a sweeping anti-abortion bill, Dunbar asserted that lawmakers “don’t have the freedom to make any laws if they are contrary to what God has said in his Holy Scripture.”

Dunbar believes that the U.S. was designed to have “an emphatically Christian government” and must have a “biblical litmus test” for public officials, saying that they must have “sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

So yeah, that was the second of the three speakers I’ve highlighted here who ranted/raved at the Trump rally last night.

Finally, here’s Prince William County Board Chair, xenophobic bigot, bully and demagogue extraordinaire Corey Stewart, the chair of Trump’s Virginia campaign, who recently ranted about “kicking the asses” of the human beings he disgustingly calls “illegals” out of the country. At the Trump rally last night in Richmond, Stewart went for a combo of Big Lie and spittle-flecked demagoguery (what a great combo, right?).

For instance, Stewart falsely (and nastily) claimed that Hillary Clinton is an “indicted felon” (FOUR PINOCCHIOS ALERT!) who should “be in prison.” Whaaaaaaa??? Hey Corey, how YOUR guy, Donald Trump, with his mafia ties, shady deals galore, Trump University scandal, fomenting of violence, etc, etc.???

Second, Stewart falsely claims that Clinton has “no respect for America,” which he says we “know” because…wait for it…a few idiotic rioters at a Trump rally in San Jose, none of whom had ANY connection whatsoever to Hillary Clinton (or the Democratic Party or “SEIU and other liberal organizations”) that anyone knows of. Note further that Hillary Clinton’s campaign immediately condemned that violence (unlike Trump, who continually eggs it on). But somehow, in Corey Stewart’s hate-filled, warped mind, that all adds up to…right, that the former Secretary of State, who traveled nearly a million miles and worked tirelessly on our country’s behalf, has “no respect for America.”

It would all be laughable, in a dark, sick, warped way, if it weren’t so serious. Let’s just all make sure we crush these extremist freaks in November 2016, and November 2017 (when Corey Stewart hopes to be elected Virginia’s next governor, god forbid!), and November 2018, and…

GOP outrage over Trump is a joke.

They're all racists. 

 They're all sexists. 

 There is nothing Trump has said that hasn't been repeated on the Rush Limbaugh show for 25 years every day. 

 This is a joke. 

Trump is the GOP.

Paul Ryan's anti-poverty plan? Steal your pension.

Remember before Trump came along Democrats used to talk about the GOP's long tradition of taking some horrible idea and packaging it in a way that would trick you into accepting it? Like changing the estate tax to the "death tax" to protect the wealthy at our expense?

Well, while you are distracted by Trump, they are still trying to destroy you.

Paul Ryan just recently unveiled the GOP's latest "anti-poverty plan," and buried in the plan is an attempt to block the "fiduciary rule."

Obama JUST VETOED a GOP attempt to block it a few days ago.

This new rule goes into effect in 2018 and protects you in the following way: financial advisers will be required to only give you retirement advice that is to your benefit. Right now they can trick you into choosing other retirement options that give them more commission but leave you with less money in your retirement years.

Anyone who thinks there's no difference between the GOP and the DNC is a victim waiting to happen. Who has been protecting you from the Republicans taking this protection from you? OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS. Just as they've been protecting your from all kinds of things you never knew about.

Trump campaign caught lying. Again.

A photo that has gone viral from supporters of Donald Trump alleging a woman, covered in blood, was beaten at a Trump rally by protesters is far from the truth.

The photo was tweeted by @Cons_Nation saying “Here’s what happened to female Trump supporter when she met ‘peaceful’ and ‘tolerant’ liberals.”

Except @Con_Nation made it up. The photo was actually a make-up test for actress Samara Weaving for horror movie legend Bruce Campbell’s new comedy-horror series “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” airing on Starz. Campbell took to Twitter, citing the tweet and calling them out for the “sad” lie.

The actress is appearing as a guest role in the final episode of the first season and originally posted the photo to her Instagram and Twitter accounts on January 4.

Snopes reported Greg McCurdy, a Facebook account that seems to only post conservative memes, posted the photo on Facebook alleging the woman was a victim of “fascism in America.” The photo has had over 30,000 shares and despite comments about the photo being false.

This isn’t the first time Trump supporters have been quick to find random photos of beaten women and tried to pass them off as the victims of liberals. A photo of a “15-year-old Trump supporter” beaten by protesters in San Jose was widely circulated. However, the photo was actually a screenshot from an episode of “La Rosa de Guadalupe.”

Another day, another Trump lie.

The "Republican way" has failed . . . Kansas is the example, along with Wisconsin . . . GOP-controlled, once prosperous, now wallowing in debt and unemployment

Give Republicans credit—they know how to take an argument and make it stick. Republicans spent years shouting “Remember Jimmy Carter” at every Democratic presidential nominee after 1980. And it worked, for a while at least. They also shouted “Look at California,” at least until Democrats actually, finally, got control of the governor’s mansion and won the necessary supermajorities in the state legislature to make real changes, including raising taxes on the wealthy. After they did so, California became one of the most successfully governed states in the union, paying down debt and turning huge deficits into multibillion dollar surpluses, all while achieving above average economic growth. Thanks to Kansas, Democrats across the country have the opportunity to make a similarly powerful argument, one that has the advantage of being, well, true.

In January 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback took office, and his arrival gave the Kansas Republican Party control over the legislative process. They proceeded to implement the Republicans’ wet dream agenda: They passed huge tax cuts for the wealthy along with tax cuts on business profits, significantly reduced business regulations, and at the same time cut spending on welfare, rejected federal Medicaid money, and put the delivery of Medicaid services into private hands.

One of Brownback’s advisors was Republican economics charlatan Arthur Laffer—the guy behind the idea that cutting income tax rates, at least to a certain, never-defined level, would increase revenue. In other words, the guy behind the Reagan tax cuts that helped create the contemporary era of income inequality. Mr. Laffer called what Kansas Republicans did “a revolution in a cornfield.”

Brownback’s budget director was Steve Anderson. Who is Mr. Anderson? He’s the guy who created a budget model for Americans for Prosperity. That’s the organization the Koch Brothers founded to advocate for their right-wing, Ayn Randian vision of America. Brownback wanted to take his Kansas vision nationwide: “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.’”

If you define “works” as “sucks,” then Brownback was 100 percent right. By implementing the conservative Republican blueprint for governing—what the governor called a “real live experiment”—Kansas has run itself into the ground:
Marginal gains at the municipal level were dwarfed by the $688 million loss that Brownback’s budget wrought in its first year of operation. Meanwhile, Kansas’s job growth actually trailed that of its neighboring states. With that nearly $700 million deficit, the state had bought itself a 1.1 percent increase in jobs, just below Missouri’s 1.5 percent and Colorado’s 3.3.
Those numbers have hardly improved in the intervening years. In 2015, job growth in Kansas was a mere 0.1 percent, even as the nation’s economy grew 1.9 percent. Brownback pledged to bring 100,000* new jobs to the state in his second term; as of January, he has brought 700. What’s more, personal income growth slowed dramatically since the tax cuts went into effect. Between 2010 and 2012, Kansas saw income growth of 6.1 percent, good for 12th in the nation; from 2013 to 2015, that rate was 3.6 percent, good for 41st.
Meanwhile, revenue shortfalls have devastated the state’s public sector along with its most vulnerable citizens. Since Brownback’s inauguration, 1,414 Kansans with disabilities have been thrown off  Medicaid. In 2015, six school districts in the state were forced to end their years early for lack of funding. Cuts to health and human services are expected to cause 65 preventable deaths this year in Sedgwick County alone. In February, tax receipts came in $53 million below estimates; Brownback immediately cut $17 million from the state’s university system. This data is not lost on the people of Kansas — as of November, Brownback’s approval rating was 26 percent, the lowest of any governor in the United States.

In comparing the economic performance of Kansas along with Wisconsin, another state that swung to Republican control after the 2010 elections, to the performance of California and Minnesota (another state that switched from a Republican to a Democratic governor in 2010), the Democratic-run states did far better in terms of job creation and overall economic performance. And as previously mentioned, California is now running budget surpluses while Kansas’ debt grows month after month, as revenues keep on falling short of expectations month after month. That’s some  real live experiment.

We could also talk about the radical steps Kansas has taken to suppress the vote, but let’s stay focused on its economic performance for now. Just this week in fact, Kansas’ "red-state model” has created a “constitutional crisis” over the state’s failure to provide adequate funding for public education. Red-state model, indeed.

Every Democrat running for the House and Senate needs to explain what happened in Kansas, and explain to voters that this is exactly what will happen to our country if we elect Donald Trump along with a Republican House and a Republican Senate.

Trump isn’t interested in particular budget details, which means that if Republicans win, the Congress—which would be dominated by right-wing conservatives who think just like the Koch Brothers and their puppet Sam Brownback—will pass a budget that will bring the Kansas meltdown to all 50 states. Democrats should hang Brownback’s quotation around the neck of every GOP candidate: “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way.’"

We have to make sure the American people know that the Republican “way” has been implemented—and it has failed miserably. A vote for any Republican is a vote for that failure.

The Second Amendment applies to us Liberal Democrats, too . . . and don't you forget it.

A gun lobbyist suggested firearms owners should start shooting if a Democrat wins the presidential election and nominates a U.S. Supreme Court justice with whom they disagree.

Larry Pratt, the executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America and former Virginia lawmaker, warned that Second Amendment rights could be threatened if liberals gain a majority on the high court, reported Right Wing Watch.

That’s not a particularly unusual position among pro-gun conservatives and candidates who pander to that type of voter — but Pratt’s solution was heinous.

“We would have to come to an understanding, which we’ve been sort of taught, it’s been taught out of us, that the courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is,” Pratt said this weekend on his “Gun Owners News Hour” radio program. “They decide particular cases, they don’t make law.”

“Their decisions, unlike the Roe v. Wade usurpation, don’t extend to the whole of society, they’re not supposed to, and we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty,” Pratt continued. “So I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.”

His guest, Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, offered another radical — yet constitutionally prescribed — solution.

“Well, there’s impeachment, too,” Knight said.

Pratt in March hinted at using gun violence against President Barack Obama’s judicial nominee, Merrick Garland, who Republican lawmakers refuse to consider as a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.

“The Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland,” Pratt said.

Well, here's a newsflash for you , Larry:  The Second Amendment applies to us Liberal Democrats just as much as it applies to you rightiwng assholes.  I'm an Old Redneck Liberal Democrat and I own enough guns to fill TWO gun safes -- mostly shotguns and rifles along with a fine selection of handguns.

 Can you imagine the outrage if a Democrat had threatened violence if an election did not go his way?

I am goddam tired of these biblethumping, gunhumping, shit-for-brains rightwingnutjobs preaching this sort of horseshit.  So -- here's my response to Larry Pratt:  BRING IT ON YOU BAD MUTHAHFUKAH, BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!