Despite the fact that the US spends more per capita than any other nation on health, eight out of every 10 counties are not keeping pace in terms of health outcomes.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Our guest blogger is Elon Green, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn.
Earlier this week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced she had filed the papers to run for President. It’s not a frivolous pursuit: She is extremely well liked by the Republican base and is an unusually effective fundraiser, taking in more dollars in the last election cycle she than any of her Congressional colleagues.
Still, Bachmann’s candidacy is not without potential landmines. Over the last decade, she has taken positions that are dangerous, stemming from her radical ideology. To Bachmann’s credit, she is aware of this, lamenting to Glenn Beck, “I have experienced that throughout my political career, being labeled a kook.”
ThinkProgress has assembled 10 of the nuttiest things Bachmann has ever said:
(1) BACHMANN WARNED ‘THE LION KING’ WAS GAY PROPAGANDA: At the November 2004 EdWatch National Education Conference, Bachmann said the “normalization” of homosexuality would lead to “desensitization”: “Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of ‘The Lion King’ for instance, and a teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?’ The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.”
(2) BACHMANN CLAIMED ABOLISHING THE MINIMUM WAGE WOULD CREATE JOBS: While testifying in front of the Minnesota Senate in 2005, Bachmann said, “Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” This isn’t remotely true. Even simply reducing the minimum wage would, as Paul Krugman noted, “at best do nothing for employment; more likely it would actually be contractionary.”
(3) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT SCIENTISTS ARE SUPPORTERS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: During a 2006 debate, Bachmann said, “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” This was, and is, not true.
(4) BACHMANN CLAIMED TERRI SCHIAVO WAS ‘HEALTHY’: Not long after Terri Schiavo died, Bachmann said she would have voted for the Palm Sunday Compromise because Schiavo “was healthy. She had brain damage — there was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill.” An autopsy found that Schiavo had suffered irreversible brain damage and her brain, said the medical examiner, was “profoundly atrophied.”
(5) BACHMANN LIKENED VISITING IRAQ TO VISITING MALL OF AMERICA: In 2007, Bachmann returned from a junket to Iraq and told her colleagues, “[T]here’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere.” As ThinkProgress documented at the time, the comparison was preposterous.
(6) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT CARBON DIOXIDE IS ‘HARMLESS’: In 2008, a Stanford scientist revealed “direct links” between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and “increases in human mortality” — globally, he found that as many as “20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.” The next year, Bachmann, who is not a scientist, said that “carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
(7) BACHMANN CALLED FOR A CONGRESSIONAL WITCH HUNT: Pivoting off the news of Barack Obama’s alleged relationship to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bachmann accused the candidate of having “anti-American views.” She then suggested that Congressional liberals — including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — ought to be subject to “an exposé” by the media because of their views. “I think people would love to see like that,” she told a stunned Chris Matthews.
(8) BACHMANN SUGGESTED GAY SINGER SHOULD REPENT AFTER GETTING CANCER: Bachmann saw Melissa Etheridge’s cancer as a teachable moment: “Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers,” she said in November 2004. “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”
(9) BACHMANN BOASTED ABOUT BREAKING THE LAW: In advance of the 2010 national Census, Bachmann told The Washington Times that she would break the law by not completing the forms. “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
(10) BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT GLENN BECK COULD SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS: During a February trip to South Carolina, Bachmann told a South Carolina audience, “I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this [the national debt].”(for webtech) Posted in General, Politics -->
Sunday, June 12, 2011
How American Is Fascism? Among U.S. Ruling Elites-- Absolutely Prevalent
Kissing and making up with dedicated hereditary traitors never works. For them, historically, it's just an opportunity to try again. Many historians-- including African-Americans ones-- realize that the Southern aristocracy got off way too lightly after the Civil War. Their spawn is back... in a big way, successfully preaching the same racism and anti-democratic obscurantism that tore the country apart in the 1850s and 1860s.
Far more contemporaneous is how the "leading families" of American Business were all able to skip away from their aggressive support of fascism during the 1930s and '40s. I've been following the story in The Nazi Hydra in America of how the American ruling elites, in awe and in love with fascism, tried to sell out the country to Hitler. None were punished-- and their sons prospered and went on fulfilled Huey Long's prediction: "Of course we will have fascism in America, but we will call it democracy." The Bush's, the son and grandson of a big-time fascist and Nazi collaborator are just the most obvious examples. Far more insidious are the ones hiding in the shadows, the millionaires and billionaires who worked to defeat America and whose spawn is still seeking to undermine democracy today.
Yesterday Think Progress' Lee Fang posted about how the Koch family was celebrated this week for the major contribution of founding father, Fred-- the financial godfather of the right-wing hate group, the John Birch Society, whose tenets are infused in everything his two degenerate sons are doing to American politics today. "As a founding board member, Fred helped engineer a hysterical wave of attacks on labor, intellectuals, public education, liberal clergy members, and other pillars of society he viewed as a threat. Birchers decried everyone from former President Eisenhower to water utility administrators as pawns in a global communist conspiracy. In the last two years, as the Koch name has become synonymous with right-wing plutocracy in the United States, the Koch family has played down its relation to the Birchers. However, the New American, the official mouthpiece of the John Birch Society, published a piece this morning celebrating Fred and the Koch family’s pivotal role in developing the group:"Koch warned that American institutions were honeycombed with communist subversives, from labor unions and tax-free foundations to universities and churches. Art and newsprint, radio and television-- all these media had been transmuted into vehicles of communist propaganda. [...] Fred Koch was no fly-by-night pamphleteer. He spent a generous portion of his later years using his wealth and influence to fight the communism he abhorred. He was an early member of the John Birch Society’s National Council, an advisory group to JBS founder Robert Welch. Koch supported a variety of freedom-related causes, all the while continuing to build the company today known as Koch Industries.
Fang reminds us that the Bircher paean to ole Fred glosses over his record of bigotry. "In a booklet he authored, Fred railed against civil rights leaders, and claimed the movement against racial segregation was a communist plot to use African Americans to destabilize the country. The Koch-funded Birchers held numerous rallies during the ’60s claiming integration would lead to a 'mongrelization' of the races. Although the present-day Koch brothers try to eschew explicit racism, their top Tea Party front group, Americans for Prosperity, is currently pursuing similar racial segregation goals. In North Carolina, the Americans for Prosperity chapter led a campaign to end a highly successful public school integration system."
Because of their ostentatious financing of the Tea Party "movement," the Kochs are in the spotlight today but they are far from the only offspring of American fascists. In fact, as contemptible and reprehensible as their father was, he wasn't technically a traitor (as far as I know.) The same can't be said about J.P. Morgan, the Dulles Brothers, Prescott Bush, the du Pont family, the Rockefellers, the Hunts, the Mellons... obviously the Fords. Remember, Wall Street and corporate America built Hitler's war machine-- and not just because they wanted to make a quick buck... they believed in the fascist doctrines he was espousing. The "biggest names" in America actively sabotaged the war effort while American boys were dying on the battlefields of Europe and Asia. Yeadon makes it clear in Nazi Hydra that "just as the backers of Hitler's were rich industrialists, so were the backers of fascism in the United States" and that, in fact, many of them were the same backers... as the following quote from the New York Times from the Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd shows:"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. On (the ship) a fellow passenger, who is a prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies.
Certain American industrialist had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there.
Propagandists for the fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions."
As Yeadon makes clear with his careful research, "Americans have never been told the truth about the extent of corporate America's involvement with the Nazis. The media has spoon-fed Americans into believing that only a handful of companies were involved. In reality, more than 300 American corporations were illegally arming Nazi Germany during the war... They could have severed all links with Nazi Germany, but instead chose to continue to support a regime at war with their own country. In doing so, those corporations became willing accomplices to the Holocaust, traitors to their country and guilty of war crimes. The traitors responsible for such actions and crimes should have received justice at the end of a hangman's noose. Sadly, not one American corporation was charged with aiding the Nazis." They all got away scott free-- to fight another day. And we're talking about household names like General Motors, IBM, duPont, Standard Oil, International Harvester, Ford, General Electric, United Fruit, Alcoa... The heart of fascist ideology of the 1930s in Germany, Italy, Spain and here in the U.S.-- and of the far right today-- was corporate rule.It is the basis for the visceral level of hate for unions, fueled by the corporate elite and their propaganda organizations. There is no better example to illustrate the power of the pro-fascists in the United States, than to compare the plight of the American worker with his counterpart in the rest of the industrial nations. In every category, the American worker comes up short when compared to the workers in other industrial nations. As an example the American worker earns 44% less than his German counterpart and 15% (1994 figures) less than his Japanese counterpart. ... While the average American worker is lucky to receive a two-week vacation his European counterpart enjoys a five-week vacation-- or more-- and a list of benefits that the American worker can only dream about.
Nor is the plight of the worker seeking to unionize much different today than it was in the 1930-40s. There are a myriad of companies today in the United States that provide security for corporate America. In reality, these companies are nothing more than hired thugs and union busters. While the muggings and factory death squads are not as great a threat today, the American worker is still being spied on. However, corporate America has no qualms about murdering union organizers in other countries. A recent report revealed that Coke Cola had hired right wing death squads to murder union organizers in Columbia. The United Steel workers union has filed suit in Miami alleging that Coca-Cola and Panamerican Beverages, its principal bottler in Latin America, waged what union leaders describe as a campaign of terror, using paramilitaries to kill, torture and kidnap union leaders in Columbia.
Marching for the billionaires who paid for their buses:
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