Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's Baaaack!!! The Sarah Palin War-on-Christmas

The Sarah Palin War-on-Christmas Soundboard

New York Magazine  |  By Dan Amira Posted:
sarah palin For religious conservatives, howling over the so-called "war on Christmas" has become an annual holiday tradition almost as enjoyable as Christmas itself. On Tuesday, Sarah Palin seeks to capitalize on the phenomenon with the release of her newest book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. Daily Intelligencer purchased the Palin-narrated audiobook from a local bookstore, where it was on sale early, and listened to all four-and-a-half hours, which is technically not a violation of the Geneva Convention if you're getting paid to do it, New York's legal team insists.
The book is part tribute to the joys of Christmas, part how-to guide for oppressed Christians looking for ways to fight back against whiny and litigious secularists, and part manifesto on the general superiority of Christianity over atheism. Palin, throughout, appears incapable of fathoming why a business catering to people from all walks of life may prefer to use inclusive holiday-season language in promotional items, or why a non-Christian may not appreciate a government institution expressing a preference for Christianity over other religions. To hear her tell it, such attitudes imperil America's dedication to religious freedom itself. Click around on the Christmas tree below to hear some of the book's more memorable lines.
For the rest of the story click below:

Voting Rights At Risk in Georgia

Voting Rights At Risk in Georgia

After the Supreme Court's controversial decision, civil rights advocates say voting in the state is under attack


November 4, 2013 11:10 AM ET
Local authorities throughout
Georgia are changing voting
rules in the wake of a recent
Supreme Court ruling.
In June, the Supreme Court's Shelby v. Holder decision disarmed Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, freeing nine states – mostly in the South – from having to submit election procedure changes for the Justice Department's approval. The vast majority of voting laws that the department objected to as discriminatory came from towns and counties, rather than the state level. Since the ruling, such localities have seen both quiet changes to election code and also deep uncertainties among civil rights advocates who long relied on this key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
The state of Georgia alone offers many examples. The city of Athens, for instance, is considering a proposal to eliminate nearly half of its 24 polling sites in favor of creating two early voting centers – both located inside police stations. Madelyn Clare Powell, a longtime civil rights activist in Athens, worries that some voters cannot regard police stations as neutral territory. "There is a major intimidation factor here – these police stations are seen by some in the community as hostile territory," says Powell, citing historical tension between white police forces and minority communities in the region. Local activists also fear that the poll closures disproportionally impact neighborhoods with higher shares of minorities and college students, requiring three-hour bus rides for some public-transit dependent voters.
See the Five Most Outrageous Facts About Our Broken Voting System
"With the popularity of advance voting, election day lines have subsided and we can serve voters with fewer election day polling places," says Gail Schrader, Athens' Supervisor of Elections and Voter Registration. Schrader also notes that police stations are among the few spaces that could accommodate early voting sites for weeks at a time, and that the proposal could annually save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
Several miles from Athens, heavily rural Greene County implemented a redistricting plan directly following the Shelby rulingThe Justice Department, which blocked another redistricting plan in the same county just last year, had been reviewing the new plan before the Supreme Court ruling, and the ACLU had strongly denounced the plan as discriminatory. In August, the new districts stirred a small demonstration in the town of Greensboro.
Adjacent to Greene County is Morgan County, which in July considered a proposal to eliminate over half of its polling sites. City Councilman Michael Naples believed the plan could disenfranchise low-income, minority voters who lack access to automobiles. "Although [Section 5] preclearance is no longer a requisite, you gentlemen and ladies are still required to have a clear conscience relative to any decisions you make relative to voting," Naples told the Board of Elections in a July meeting. The county ultimately voted to eliminate just over a third of polling sites.
Outside Atlanta, in the suburban community of Druid Hills, Henry Carey – a political science professor at Georgia State University, who has worked observing elections in Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and elsewhere – voted in a special charter school election in August. He was appalled at what he saw: The poll workers were overtly partisan, wearing t-shirts supporting the charter effort up for vote. The polling site was open for only four hours and was in a heavily white neighborhood, although the school district is majority black. "Nowhere on earth have I ever seen such an utterly illegal election," says Carey.
Last month, the NAACP implored Baker County, located in Georgia's southwest corner, to explain the rationale behind a proposal to eliminate four out of five of its polling places. The civil rights group argued the move could hinder voting access across the county – especially for poorer residents who are disproportionately black. Baker County responded with a brief letter simply stating that the plan was still under consideration.
Just days after the Shelby decision, a newspaper in the town of Augusta reported that local officials are considering reintroducing a plan – struck down as discriminatory by federal authorities last year – to shift the city's elections from November to the summertime, when the city's black turnout is typically lower. In 2012, the Justice Department asserted that state officials had not provided a convincing explanation for the date change beyond voter suppression.
Augusta has a long, fraught history with voting. "It's is one of these cities that has continually come up with new strategies to suppress turnout," says Leah Aden, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is scrambling to establish a network to discover and challenge problematic voting proposals in the Justice Department's absence. Although the Supreme Court argued that the formula determining Section 5's jurisdiction was outdated, Aden contends that the provision still broadly targeted regions with uniquely recurrent voting issues, enabling authorities to swat down discriminatory proposals before they became law (and thus far harder to challenge).
"It's very hard to keep up with this through case-by-case litigation," says Aden. "But we're going to try."

Ted Cruz makes his late-night debut Texas Republican appears on 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno'

Ted Cruz makes his late-night debut Texas Republican appears on 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno'

Author: By CNN's Bryan Koenig 
Published: Nov 08 2013 10:19:38 PM EST 
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 10:41:52 PM EST

Ted Cruz 10-16-2013
(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz is no longer limiting his speaking engagements to friendly GOP events and marathon talks on the Senate floor, appearing for the first time Friday on late-night television.

The Texas Republican was on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" to talk about the tea party firebrand's growing reputation and his stances on issues such as Obamacare and same-sex marriage. 

Cruz has fast become one of the most outspoken critics of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. 

Quick Clicks Issa issues another subpoena on Affordable Care Act website Navy launches USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier Petraeus didn't want top honor for soldier After Obama's apology, talk of solutions Victim's family: Navy missed 'red flags' NORML: Pot legalization on 'greased tracks' He picked up 2016 speculation steam as one of the leaders of the Defund Obamacare movement in Congress, an effort that helped precipitate the partial government shutdown when Democrats flatly refused to pass a government funding bill that also sought to destroy the health care law. 

Those tactics have gained Cruz intense ire from Democrats and even some Republicans, a situation that seemed to suit Cruz just fine Friday. Asked by Leno about descriptions of the freshman senator as aggressive, arrogant and abrasive, Cruz said, "Don't believe everything you read." 

Cruz continued, "What I'm trying to do is do my job," he said. "And occasionally people don't like it." 

On Obamacare, Cruz continued to maintain his tried-and-true talking points -- that the law is destructive and harmful, costing people jobs and money on their premiums. 

Cruz avoided labels of only wanting to do away with health care reform. 

"I'm a big believer in health care reform," Cruz said. 

"I think we ought to reform healthcare so it's personal, it's portable, it's affordable. We ought to empower patients rather than government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor." 

Cruz also touched on some of the controversy surrounding his father, Rafael Cruz, a businessman and evangelical pastor who's made a number of controversial comments, including calling on President Barack Obama to be sent "back to Kenya." The two have frequently campaigned together and Cruz has often called his father his inspiration. 

The comments of his father that Cruz responded to Friday was the elder Cruz's opposition to same-sex marriage, an opposition the younger Cruz shares. But the younger Cruz feels the issue is one that should be determined state to state. 

Politics is a dirty game, Cruz acknowledged in the attacks against his father. 

"Some folks have decided to try to go after him because they want to take some shots at me," 

Cruz said. "But I think the critics are better off attacking me." 

Copyright 2013 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Rand Paul has another problem

Rand Paul has another problem

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (James Crisp/Associated Press)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) 
(James Crisp/Associated Press)
In the spring of 2010 stories first swirled around Sen. Rand Paul’s certification as an ophthalmologist by an outfit called the “National Ophthalmology Board,” an entity he founded. This week I discovered that while he continues to present himself as “board certified” the NOB has been out of business since 2011, and in any event, does not under Kentucky law permit him to advertise as “board certified.”
In 2010 Rand Paul explained that he formed the board in 1997 along with 200 young ophthalmologists to protest a decision by the American Board of Ophthalmologists to grandfather those who were certified by 1992, but to limit certification for a ten year period for those first certified after that date. Rand Paul fell within the latter group. He found that decision “discriminatory” and unfair so he set up the NOB along with his wife and father-in-law to certify himself. Despite calling itself “national,” it appears to have operated purely in Kentucky. The board remained in operation until 2000, when it was dissolved. It was reinstated in 2005. Since the certification story broke, the NOB again dissolved in 2011.
However, it is not clear how that entity would have comported within Kentucky law. Michael S. Rodman, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure tells Right Turn, “The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure does not  license physicians based on their specialty board certification nor is it a requirement for licensure. ” However, he explained that “Board does address specialty board certification  through our regulation on physician advertising.” Rodman confirmed that if a board is not on the list, then a Kentucky specialist is prohibited from advertising himself as board certified.  That list does not include the National Ophthalmology Board.
A physician in Kentucky and elsewhere can still practice without certification, but since the 1990′s the certification has become increasingly important in the medical field. Beth Ann Comber of the American Board of Ophthalmology tells me, “Board certification, and especially MOC [Maintenance of Certification] participation, by an ABMS-recognized board helps patients make more informed choices regarding their medical care. Today, the internet connects patients with a wealth of physician information, but it’s often difficult for patients to determine where the information on those sites comes from, how the ratings are determined, and where paid advertising stops and unbiased information begins. . . .Certification is voluntary, so physicians who make the choice to participate in continuous learning and quality improvement activities are doing so out of a personal commitment to high standards for their patients and their practice.” Moreover, “there are many hospitals, private practice groups, insurers, etc. that require board certification for staff privileges or leadership positions. Some medical specialty societies also require board certification for membership or offer a special class of membership for board certified physicians.”
Rand Paul continues to perform eye “surgery in his home state, often getting favorable media attention for performing free eye procedures. His profile on the website of the Tri-Star Greenview Regional Hospital, where Paul has privileges, includes the notation “Specialty Board Certifications: Ophathalmology.” Likewise on the Healthgrades  Web site where patients can locate physicians his entry reads: “Ophthalmology, Board Certified.”
Since 2005 Rand Paul has not been certified by any board recognized by the state of Kentucky, and since 2011 has had no certification since the NOB was dissolved. I asked Rand Paul’s staff a series of questions, trying to determine why he still held himself out as a “certified” ophthalmologist:
Did the National Board of Ophthalmology have examinations and/or continuing education requirements? If so, what were they?
How many doctors claimed certification through the NBO? Did they continue to do so or did they obtain American Board of Ophthalmology certification?
When it dissolved, did Dr. Rand stop presenting himself as “board certified”?
The Kentucky Board of Licensure’s list of approved accreditation boards does not appear to include the NBO so why did Dr. Rand believe he had the right under Kentucky law to advertise as board certified? Did he receive an exemption or opinion of some sort from the state licensure board?
Is he continuing to hold himself out as “board certified”?
Has he taken any continuing education since he was originally certified? Since 1997?
I got back a nonresponsive answer that recited his medical school and residency record. As to the certification issue, a Rand Paul spokeswoman would only say:
In 1997, Dr. Paul led a nationwide protest against the American Board of Ophthalmology’s decision to require recertification for younger ophthalmologists, but not for older ophthalmologists. Over 200 young ophthalmologists co-signed a letter with Dr. Paul to protest the policy. When ABO refused to extend their recertification policy to all ophthalmologists, the group formed a competing board certification group called the National Board of Ophthalmology.  The group administered its own certification exam for about a decade, but is no longer active.
NBO is a nonprofit corporation and all who took part were volunteers without salary. Dr. Paul has not profited in any way from this group.
The decade-long battle against a policy that the ABO did not make binding on all members is just another example of Dr. Paul’s willingness to fight against any law or rule that doesn’t include equal protection for everyone.
In refusing to answer the direct questions Rand Paul will prompt further inquiry as to whether he skated around Kentucky law, received appropriate continuing education and represented himself forthrightly to his patients, paid or otherwise. It is noteworthy that he says 200 people signed the letter; he does not confirm that any of them relied on the NBO certification.
Rand Paul is already under fire for plagiarism charges, and has reacted angrily to that story. (“It annoys the hell out of me. I feel like if I could just go to detention after school for a couple days, then everything would be okay. But do I have to be in detention for the rest of my career?”)  His reaction doesn’t bode well for presidential campaign-level scrutiny. At one point he told the New York Times, “To tell you the truth, people can think what they want, I can go back to being a doctor anytime, if they’re tired of me. I’ll go back to being a doctor, and I’ll be perfectly content.” If he does, he would be smart to get certified by the American Board of Ophthalmologists to be fully compliant with state law and give patients the reassurance he’s current on the latest developments in his field.
So long as he is a U.S. senator with presidential aspirations, however, he will need to respond calmly and honestly with controversies about his own actions and record. By providing so little information he guarantees continued scrutiny.

White Anti-Gay Activist Wins Election After Pretending To Be Black

White Anti-Gay Activist Wins Election After Pretending To Be Black

By Ian Millhiser on November 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

Dave Wilson: not black
Dave Wilson: not black
An electrician best known for mailing homophobic fliers to thousands of Houston voters attacking the city’s lesbian mayor narrowly won an election to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees after he misled voters into believing that he is African American. Dave Wilson defeated longtime incumbent Bruce Austin, who actually is black, in an overwhelmingly African American district.
Wilson’s campaign fliers were filled with black faces that he admits to simply pulling off of websites, along with captions such as “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.” Another flier announces that he was “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” which is the name of an African American former state representative. Only by reading the fine print will voters discover that the “Ron Wilson” who actually endorsed Dave is his cousin. The cousin lives in Iowa.
In an interview with a local TV station, the anti-gay activist turned higher education policymaker did not deny that he intended to mislead the electorate, instead justifying his actions by claiming that “[e]very time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters.”

wilson-mailerIt’s worth noting that Wilson was likely able to get within striking range of a 24-year incumbent member of the board due to a wave of scandals involving insider dealing by board members. Nevertheless, he defeated the incumbent Austin by just 26 votes, so it is likely that Wilson’s deceptive campaign tactics helped push him over the edge to victory.
The Houston Community College Board of Trustees governs the college and has the power to approve the school’s “educational program.” Previously, Wilson unsuccessfully tried to scuttle the campaign of victorious Houston mayoral candidate Annise Parker by mailing a flier to 35,000 voters featuring a picture of Parker standing by her same-sex partner and the caption “IS THIS THE IMAGE HOUSTON WANTS TO PORTRAY?”

Parker told a local news station that he opposed Parker because “[t]he openly gay lifestyle leads to extinction.”

Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC Put Falsified Signatures On A Letter To A Senator, Group Finds

Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC Put Falsified Signatures On A Letter To A Senator, Group Finds


By Annie-Rose Strasser on August 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

ALEC logo 3x2This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated.
ALEC has come under intense scrutiny for its involvement in orchestrating passage of Stand Your Ground in several states. The law became a hotbed of controversy in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. Though it wasn’t ultimately used in killer George Zimmerman’s defense, Stand Your Ground allowed Zimmerman to walk free on the night of the killing, turned out to be central to the case at trial, and was cited by one of six jurors as a justification for his acquittal.
After the Zimmerman verdict was announced, Durbin said that he would conduct an inquiry in ALEC’s involvement in the bill.
The group hit back Monday with a letter that tried to discredit Durbin’s inquiry. The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”
“[A] simple Google search found that seven of the signatures on the letter were unidentifiable, four were spouses of elected lawmakers, 35 of the signatures were duplications and one was an expletive rant,” said ProgressNow Research Director Brian Wietgrefe in a release.
The group’s full ananlysis is available here.
Over half of states in the U.S. have enacted some version of Stand Your Ground laws. Much of that legislation is similar to model legislation crafted by ALEC. The National Rifle Association, too, has been pivotal in lobbying for Stand Your Ground.

Koch brother says supporters of carbon tax are “on LSD”

Koch brother says supporters of carbon tax are “on LSD”

He also expressed skepticism about renewable energy — and supports the Keystone XL Pipeline

Koch brother says supporters of carbon tax are
William Koch (Credit: AP/Louis Lanzano)
According to a report in the Palm Beach Daily News, Bill Koch, one of the lesser-known members of the Koch family, recently told a group of about 600 people at a Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce gathering that supporters of a carbon tax are “on LSD.” A better way to combat high carbon levels, Koch suggested, would be to plant more trees.
Koch also weighed in on the Keystone XL Pipeline, which he supports, and climate change, in which he does not believe. “I won’t bet on global warming,” Koch said before arguing that alternative energy sources — like solar or wind — were too expensive.  ”We can’t count on renewable energy to save us,” he said.
Koch encourages drilling for shale gas. He described the process involved in extracting shale gas deposits, which requires vertical and horizontal drilling and the process known as fracking to break through the rock surrounding the oil.
He dismissed concerns about pollution and environmental contamination raised with regard to fracking.
“Carbon is going to be around longer than we are,” Koch said. “Pollution problems can be solved.”
To get away from carbon dioxide, the human race will have to move to another planet, he said.
[h/t ThinkProgress]
Elias Isquith Elias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at

Republican Family Values

CBS to Correct Erroneous Report on Benghazi

CBS Apologizes for Benghazi Report: Accounts 
differ from a man interviewed by “60 Minutes” 
who said he was at the U.S. mission the night 
of the attack that killed 
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. 

As it prepared to broadcast a rare on-air correction Sunday for a now-discredited “60 Minutes” report, CBS News acknowledged on Friday that it had suffered a damaging blow to its credibility. Its top executive called the segment “as big a mistake as there has been” in the 45-year-old history of the celebrated news program.

Lara Logan acknowledged the “mistake” on Friday.
Dylan Davies was identified as Morgan Jones on the “60 Minutes” report.
The executive, Jeff Fager, conceded that CBS appeared to have been duped by the primary source for the report, a security official who told a national television audience a harrowing tale of the attack last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. On Thursday night it was disclosed that the official, Dylan Davies, had provided a completely different account in interviews with the F.B.I., in which he said he never made it to the mission that night.
After that revelation, CBS decided to take multiple actions Friday. It removed the report from the CBS News website, and the correspondent for the segment, Lara Logan, appeared on the CBS morning news show to apologize personally for the mistakes in the report. And the company’s publishing division, Simon & Schuster, said it was suspending publication of a book by Mr. Davies, in which he tells the same narrative he recounted on “60 Minutes.”
“It’s a black eye and it’s painful,” Mr. Fager said in a phone interview. He declined to say whether there would be negative consequences for any of the journalists involved.
The retractions and the scale of the mistake spurred comparisons with another embarrassing episode for CBS News — a report in 2004 about George W. Bush’s National Guard record that CBS was also forced to retract. That report, which actually appeared on a short-lived spinoff program called “60 Minutes II,” resulted in several firings and played a role in the eventual separation between CBS and its longtime anchor, Dan Rather.
Mr. Davies, identified as Morgan Jones on the “60 Minutes” report and on the jacket of his book, “The Embassy House,” gave three separate interviews to the F.B.I., according to Obama administration officials. Each time he described the events in ways that diverged from his account to CBS, when he claimed to have been personally involved in the action during the attack — to the point of disabling one of the attackers with a blow from a rifle.
His interviews with the F.B.I., disclosed Thursday night by The New York Times, were critical in the unraveling of his story. Mr. Davies had already told his employer, the security firm Blue Mountain, that he never appeared at the mission the night of the attack, and the firm had prepared an incident report with that information. Mr. Davies contended that he had not created or approved the incident report and that he had needed to lie to his employer because he had defied orders to remain at his villa. The justification for believing him, Mr. Fager said Friday, was Mr. Davies’s assurance that had told the real truth to the F.B.I., one that would corroborate his account to CBS.
With agents unable to operate freely in Benghazi, the F.B.I., which is conducting an investigation into the attack, has struggled to get interviews with the guards hired to protect the mission and other witnesses. That has forced the agents to rely on the accounts provided by State Department officials and contractors who have left the country. As part of those efforts, the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Davies by phone, teleconference and in Wales, where Mr. Davies lives. (Mr. Davies could not be reached Friday. Mr. Fager said he had told CBS News he had “gone into hiding.”)
Mr. Fager said CBS had been duped by a convincing liar. “There are people in the world who try to deceive others,” he said. “We believe we have a really good system to guard against that. This guy got through that.”
But the program seemed to make a crucial error in going ahead with its report before it knew for certain what was in the F.B.I. interviews. Mr. Fager said CBS had made extensive efforts to determine what Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. He said the network had sources who led the program to believe that the report was “in sync” with the account Mr. Davies gave to “60 Minutes.”
Informed Thursday night by The Times that the F.B.I. version diverged from what Mr. Davies said on “60 Minutes,” CBS News quickly checked its own F.B.I. sources, Mr. Fager said, and learned that what Mr. Davies had told the F.B.I. “differed from what he told us.”
Mr. Fager said that led to a difficult night with “a tremendous amount of soul-searching.” He said, “We were sick. We knew we were misled and for us that is a mistake and we shouldn’t have put him on the air.”
He called Ms. Logan and said she would have to appear on “CBS This Morning” to admit the error and apologize. “It is one of the most difficult things for a reporter to do and she did it extremely well, with the recognition that this is about the organization, not about her,” Mr. Fager said.
As CBS was backtracking on its report, Threshold Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement that it was recommending that booksellers remove Mr. Davies’s book from their shelves. “The Embassy House” was published Oct. 29, and more than 38,000 copies are in print.
Ms. Logan did not reply to requests for an interview Friday. In an interview earlier this week, she had ardently defended Mr. Davies’s character and his veracity against charges that he had given differing accounts of the events that night in Benghazi.
She also suggested, as Mr. Fager did on Friday, that the “60 Minutes” report became enmeshed in the continuing political battle over the Benghazi incident. The compelling account from Mr. Davies had provided congressional Republicans with new ammunition to criticize the Obama administration.
Since the attack on the mission in Libya, Republicans have contended that the administration failed to secure the mission adequately, held back on sending military forces to rescue the Americans there, then tried to cover up how it handled the matter.
The day after the CBS report, several Republican senators held a news conference, demanding that the administration allow congressional investigators to interview survivors of the Benghazi attack. In particular, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that he would block all administration nominations until it met the Republicans’ demands.
“We really hope that this will force him to drop his block on the nominations,” a senior administration official said on Friday.
A spokesman for Mr. Graham declined to address the matter on Friday, saying that Mr. Graham would address it on Sunday in an interview with CNN.

Julie Bosman and Brian Stelter contributed reporting.

Free the Media!

Free the Media! 


It's time to get rid of corporate 
control of the Internet. 
(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
When we helped form the national media-reform network Free Press, we were motivated by an understanding that the great debates about media policy played out behind closed doors in Washington, with corporate puppeteers pulling the strings of politicians and regulators. Free Press, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, set out to change the dynamic by securing a place for citizens in those deliberations. We always knew this involved more than just a critique of what was wrong. There had to be bold proposals for how to make things better, proposals that would inspire Americans to join mass movements to counter the mass money and influence of the telecommunications industry.

An opportunity we had not anticipated helped make our network a major player more rapidly than we had ever imagined. Free Press took shape early in 2003, as George W. Bush was selling his war in Iraq. Americans recognized that media outlets had let them down by tipping coverage in favor of a wrongheaded rush to war. When administration allies on the FCC proposed greater consolidation of media ownership by the same interests that had facilitated an unnecessary war, Free Press and allies like Common Cause, MoveOn and Code Pink got an unprecedented 3 million Americans to signal their opposition. The courts put consolidation on hold, citing the public outcry.
Early victories created a sense that we could pressure Congress and regulators to do the right thing. Free Press and other groups achieved significant success with those strategies, forcing the FCC to consider minority ownership issues, fighting cuts to public broadcasting, exposing corporate and government spin masquerading as news, and defending Net neutrality and a free and open Internet. But big media corporations have reasserted themselves. They are spending more freely on campaigns and lobbyists than ever before, reminding all of us that whichever party is in power, the money power rules in Washington.
It’s time to get back to our roots—the grassroots—and organize citizens into a media-reform movement so big and so bold it cannot be denied. The people are ready. On our current book tour we have spoken to thousands of Americans. We’ve heard the fury at a media system that fails to cover elections but gladly pockets billions for spewing negative campaign ads; that facilitates government and corporate data mining; that creates cartels rather than independent journalism.
We are more certain than ever that Americans can be organized around ideas for sweeping media reforms. They include:
§ Increase public funding for public media. Newspaper and broadcast layoffs, cutbacks and closings have gutted newsrooms, and digital media are not coming close to filling the void. We are as excited by the investment Pierre Omidyar is making in a new venture with Glenn Greenwald as we are by every serious investment in serious journalism. But there will never be enough enlightened billionaires to fill the information voids that have opened. We need enlightened policies. Instead of merely opposing cuts, reformers must fight for massive expansion of public broadcasting, community media and nonprofit digital experiments. The hallmark of a strong democracy is public support for great independent and aggressive journalism—and a great deal of it.
§ Give the Internet back to the people. The Internet has spawned the greatest wave of monopoly in history. Thirteen of the thirty-two most valuable publicly traded US firms are primarily Internet companies, and many of those thirteen have a market share in their core activities approaching that of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly in its prime. This is simply untenable for democratic governance. One place to start: eliminating the government-created cartel of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, which gives the United States some of the lousiest, yet most expensive, cellphone and Internet service in the world. Washington should establish free high-speed broadband for every American.
§ Restore privacy. Coverage of the NSA scandal has focused on data mining by the government. But private corporations and political consultants have access to the same information, and they’re using it to manipulate our choices as consumers and citizens. The restoration of privacy rights may begin with limits on the NSA, but it should extend to strict regulation of, and limits on, the digital data that can be collected from us, and how corporations and politicians can use those data to manage discourse.
These are starting points for a broader reform moment in which we must limit the influence of negative campaign ads while extending the range of political debate; more tightly regulate the commercial carpet-bombing of our children; and make media literacy central to public education. That moment must be characterized, above all, by organizing so that no matter who runs things in Washington, politicians will know that the people want media that err on the side of diversity and democracy—not profiteering and propaganda.
In August, Leticia Miranda wrote about deregulation of the telecom giants and how it affects working-class and minority people.

A Mass Shooting Happened Yesterday But You Didn’t Hear Anything About It

A Mass Shooting Happened Yesterday But You Didn’t Hear Anything About It

By Annie-Rose Strasser on November 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

Store Shootings Detroit
On Thursday, a man reportedly dressed in body armor ran into a crowded room and opened fire with a high-powered assault-style rifle, killing three and injuring six. But television stations didn’t cut away to report on the horrific event. In fact, it’s likely this is the first you’re hearing about it.
What makes this shooting different? Several things. First, it happened in Detroit, a city with a staggeringly high murder rate. Second, the reported gunman had a criminal history, and may have had a longstanding feud with some of the victims. And, third, it happened in a space where many people can’t imagine themselves: a gambling session in the back room of a barber shop.
But the quotes coming out of the shooting at Al’s Place Barber Shop are as heartbreaking as those you’d hear anywhere.
“Police wear body armor. Why would a community member be driving around in body armor?” asked Detroit Police Chief James Craig in a press conference following the shooting. Craig called the violence “urban terrorism.”
“I’m angry that it happened. I’m angry that people are dead,” Arnold Redmond, one of those injured in shooting, told the Detroit Free Press. Redmond also insisted that the shooting had nothing to do with “the barbershop or any of the people associated with it.”
Sadly, the relative media ignorance of the shooting tracks with a common theme: Gun crimes often occur in low-income neighborhoods with largely non-white victims, but, from the news, you’d think every shooting put the white and affluent at risk of violence. There’s an obvious reason from a producer’s perspective: They want traffic, or viewers, and think they can get more if more well-off news consumers are self-concerned with the story. But it doesn’t reflect the reality of gun violence in the United States, where black people are far more likely to be victims of gun homicides compared to their white counterparts.
The three victims have been identified as Joezell Williams, 61, Bryan Williams, 29, and Kevin Perryman, 40. Police say each one was shot at least twice.

The Rest of the Story on Arizona Anecdote

The Wire

The Rest of the Story on Arizona Anecdote

Conservative groups are highlighting the case of an Arizona man with leukemia whose insurance plan was canceled because it didn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act. A news report quoted the man as saying he would need to pay $26,000 to keep the same doctor. It turns out, he was able to get a new plan, which has his doctor in its network, for a lower premium and a lower out-of-pocket maximum than his old plan.
Michael Cerpok, from Fountain Hills, Ariz., was featured in a local TV news segment on Oct. 3. The ABC15 report said that Cerpok, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 and requires ongoing treatment, had received a letter from his insurer, Celtic Insurance Company, saying that his policy wasn’t “fully compliant” with the Affordable Care Act and would be canceled. Cerpok, a self-employed businessman, was paying $855 per month for the policy for himself.
The report said his out-of-pocket costs in 2012 were only $4,500, even though his treatment for leukemia totaled more than $350,000. Cerpok wanted to keep the same doctor he had at the Mayo Clinic. He told ABC15: “Now it doesn’t mean I can’t go see my current doctor, but my $4,500 out-of-pocket, is going to turn into a minimum of $26,000 out-of-pocket to see the doctor that I’ve been seeing the last seven years.”
That local Phoenix news segment has gone viral. Cerpok’s plight now has been highlighted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank; cited in an ad from Americans for Prosperity, as the announcer says “Arizonans are losing the health care plans they love, the doctors they know”; and featured on many other conservative websites. Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint wrote a letter in early October to President Obama that said: “We are fighting for people like Michael Cerpok, a leukemia patient in Arizona, who recently learned he will lose his current health insurance due to this misguided law. He notes that ‘my $4,500 out-of-pocket [expense] is going to turn into a minimum of $26,000 out-of-pocket to see the doctor that I’ve been seeing the last seven years,’ and he worries that he and his wife might need to take second jobs to stay afloat.”
But this story has a happy ending. We spoke with Cerpok a month after the TV report aired, and things have changed. Cerpok told us he was able to sign up for a new plan that has his current oncologist and hospital in its network. He said the policy was less expensive, but didn’t have some of the same benefits — such as a specialty prescription drug benefit for cancer drugs. “I will say that my premiums went down, as did my yearly total out of pocket maximum, commensurate with the benefits I lost,” he said in an email to “My policy contains MANY things that I will never use.” He didn’t want to reveal how much money he was saving with the new policy or other details on the coverage, saying that he had received a lot of criticism after the ABC15 report aired.
That report, however, is what led him to a new plan. Cerpok had a career as a martial artist, and one of his former student’s parent, who owns an insurance agency, contacted him after seeing the news report, Cerpok said, and helped him find comparable insurance. “He did a lot of research,” Cerpok said, and “found a plan for me which I have now signed up for.”
It’s an individual market plan, but it is not through the federal exchange. “I didn’t want my new plan to be a part of a subsidized government-mandated health care,” he told us. He said he had no problem with Americans getting subsidies to help them buy insurance, but he was opposed to the individual mandate, requiring everyone to buy coverage. “This is about freedom to choose,” Cerpok said.
He said he did not look at health plans on the federal exchange, Estimates available on the exchange website show significantly lower rates than the $855 Cerpok had been paying. Coverage for a single person over 50 — Cerpok is 52 — starts at $237.04 per month for a bronze plan. The highest-priced plan was an estimated $576.62 in Maricopa County, Ariz.
His old insurer, Celtic, did not offer him a new plan and is no longer selling individual market plans in Arizona, according to its website. We contacted Celtic’s parent company, Centene, but haven’t received a response to our questions. The $26,000 figure Cerpok cited in the news report comes from him looking into joining his wife’s employer-based plan, which is through Blue Cross Blue Shield and doesn’t include Cerpok’s doctor and the Mayo Clinic in its network. He said Blue Cross Blue Shield told his wife he could continue to see his doctor on that plan, but the out-of-network costs would total $26,000 for the year.
The $855 Cerpok is paying for the soon-to-be-canceled Celtic policy is a high price, but he said he was happy it covered the bulk of his leukemia treatment. Individual market premiums vary — and as his premium shows, can vary greatly. The average price for Arizona, as calculated by the conservative Manhattan Institute, adjusting for preexisting conditions, was $127 per month for a 40-year-old and $386 for a 64-year-old male before the Affordable Care Act. The Kaiser Family Foundation found an average individual market premium of $241 per person per month in 2010 in Arizona, noting that was an average for all adults and children.
The cost estimates aren’t what’s important to Cerpok, however. It’s about the right to choose to buy whatever you want. “The health insurance industry certainly needed to be put in check, and we certainly needed to provide affordable care for low income earners,” he told us in an email. “But, I should not have had a product that I was willing to pay for, and that I had been very happy with, taken away from me by a government mandate and then taxed…er, I mean fined…if I chose not to replace it with a product I don’t like.”
The cost of insurance has been the focus of political claims, and it was the focus of the local Arizona news report, which said the insurance switch could cost Cerpok “tens of thousands of dollars.”
In the end, Cerpok isn’t facing such an increase, and instead lowered his monthly payments. He wasn’t able to keep his plan, but he was able to keep his doctor.
– Lori Robertson

Racine women closed Street sat in middle of road front of Paul Ryans office

Protest. Racine women closed Street sat in middle of road front of Paul Ryans office

Protest shuts down Sixth Street


Ryan Protest
Twelve women hold hands Friday afternoon, November 8, 2013,
as they block Sixth Street during an immigration reform
protest outside Congressman Paul Ryan's office in
Downtown Racine. /
Gregory Shaver
RACINE — Twelve Racine women effectively closed a block of Sixth Street for an hour Friday afternoon after they sat in the middle of the street in front of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s office, 216 Sixth St., to push him to take action on immigration reform.
Police blocked off the street at Main Street and allowed the women to address a crowd of several dozen that gathered in front of the Racine office for Ryan, the Janesville Republican who represents Racine County in                                                                                            Congress.

The women-led protest, organized by the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, called on Ryan to work for speedy immigration reform and stop deportations.
Police wrote down each woman’s information and told them that they would be cited for the incident, according to Joe Shansky, a representative of the organization.
Ryan Protest
Cecilia Anguiano, right, talks about her
family's struggles with immigration, as
she and her mother, Sofi Anguiano, center,
and her grandmother, Luz Maria Hernandez,
left block Sixth Street with other women
during a immigration reform protest Friday
afternoon, November 9, 2013, outside
Congressman Paul Ryan's office in Downtown Racine.
Gregory Shaver
One of the women, 77-year-old Racine resident Luz Maria Hernández, said some of her children have been waiting in Mexico for 17 years for their visas to be approved.
“I have no fear because I’m fighting for my children and for many families who also suffer and are saddened,” said Hernández, who has nine children, 31 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Hernández, her one daughter who has been able to move to Racine, 57-year-old Sofia Anguiano, and her granddaughter Cecilia Anguiano were three of the women cited during the protest.
Hernández and her granddaughter were arrested together in a protest in Washington, D.C., in September, but Sofia Anguiano said that Friday was the first time she has ever been ticketed in the United States.
Another protester, Luisa Morales, 25, said that deportations are of particular concern for her because she was raised in Racine by two parents who were
                                                                               always at risk of being deported.

Ryan Protest
Racine police gather information from twelve women
Friday afternoon, November 8, 2013, as they block
Sixth Street during a immigration reform protest
outside the Congressman Paul Ryan's office in
Downtown Racine. /
Gregory Shaver
“I feared everyday in my childhood because they came to this country undocumented,” she said. “I had to grow up much sooner than most kids.”
Shansky said that the organization has held similar protests in front of the offices of Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson in the past to spur action on immigration reform.
The protest began at about 3 p.m. and lasted for about an hour, until the women concluded the protest and willingly moved out of the street.

 Journal Times, 212 Fourth St. Racine, WI

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ted Cruz's Dad Declares God Is Pro Death Penalty

Ted Cruz's Dad Declares God Is Pro Death Penalty

The Huffington Post  |  By


Evangelical pastor Rafael Cruz, father of shutdown dramatist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), served up a stemwinder this week, laying out God’s positions on the death penalty, guns in schools, gay marriage, communism and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), all in an impassioned 45 minutes.
The Cuban-American creationist quoted Bible verses that he said described God’s hardline position on capital punishment. “You know, the Bible is so clear," he said. "Go to Genesis chapter nine and you will find the death penalty clearly stated in Genesis chapter nine ... God ordains the death penalty!”
He brushed off “all these people that want to come home with their violins to tell you, ‘Oh, we need to show mercy,'" declaring that the death penalty rightly shows no mercy.
On the subject of mass shootings on school campuses, Cruz blamed Democrats who have lobbied for gun control in response to the atrocities.
“Look at all the massacres that we’ve had in the last year or two that the left is using to try to tell us that we need to control guns. Every one of those was in a gun-free zone,” Cruz said, amid exclamations of “Amen!” and “Exactly!” from the audience.
“You want to eliminate school massacres? Have the teachers carry [guns]! … How stupid can you be?” Cruz said. An audience member answered, “It’s doggone stupid!”
Cruz also spoke at length against same-sex marriage, arguing, “It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
He said the legalization of gay marriage would lead to a deluge of hate speech claims.
“After this homosexual marriage law gets passed, do you know what the next thing that is coming very soon is? ... Hate speech,” Cruz said. “You preach Romans chapter one in your church, you’re going to be called before a court for hate speech. Now what are you gonna do? Are you going to take that page and cut it out of your Bible? Because it’s not politically correct? So it’s going to come to a head.”
More broadly, the senator's father warned that “social justice very quickly leads to socialism and ultimately communism.” He squeezed in a jab at the National Rifle Association's past support for the Senate majority leader, asking, “How can you call yourself righteous and go endorse Harry Reid?”
Cruz attacked President Barack Obama as a “king” and a “tyrant,” before closing with “God bless you all.”
The event at which Cruz spoke was sponsored by the gun rights advocacy group OK2A and the anti-government Tulsa 9.12 Project.

Jon Stewart Blasts Rand Paul For Plagiarizing Wikipedia

Jon Stewart Blasts Rand Paul For Plagiarizing Wikipedia

Posted:   |  Updated: 11/08/2013 10:40 am EST

Rand Paul has had a tough last few weeks as he's addressed charges of plagiarism, seemingly against his better nature. And Jon Stewart was not about to let him off the hook for copying from Wikipedia, of all places.

GOP using the “phoniest” anti-gay arguments

GOP using the “phoniest” anti-gay arguments: Tom Harkin unloads to Salon

"A religion that says it's alright to discriminate... I have a real question about the underlying basis of it"

GOP using the
Tom Harkin (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Five-term Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which this summer approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the LGBT workplace discrimination ban that passed the Senate Thursday afternoon. In an interview following the vote, Harkin told Salon that ENDA’s Senate passage should spur President Obama to take executive action against discrimination, said Speaker Boehner is making “about the phoniest arguments I have ever heard” to defend his opposition, and questioned “the underlying basis” of any religion that encourages discrimination.
He also touted his proposal to increase Social Security benefits as a better alternative to the president’s favored “chained CPI” cut, which he compared to telling seniors, “Don’t live so long.” A condensed version of our conversation follows.
Given the Republican House, is the vote today on ENDA going to make a difference?
Well, I hope the vote today will encourage and pressure John Boehner, Speaker Boehner, to bring the bill up on the House floor…I think we got ten Republicans here, that is almost 25 per cent of the caucus. I think they have the same kind of support among Republicans in the House. So if Boehner were to bring this up in the House, it would pass…If he doesn’t bring it up, of course then it dies – but then it’s very clear to the country who killed ENDA, and it will be the Republican House of Representatives.
A spokesperson for Speaker Boehner told the Huffington Post that the legislation “will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.” An aide to Boehner also told them that they believe “this is covered by existing law.” What do you make of those arguments?
Those are about the phoniest arguments I have ever heard. I mean, you know, that’s an old argument that was used against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was used against the Americans with Disabilities Act which I was a sponsor [of] in 1990…Did some people bring suits under them? Sure, but that’s the whole idea of a civil rights bill, and that is to give people recourse to the courts to redress their wrongs.

Think about it this way. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if you were an African-American, and you went down to get a job for which you were qualified, [and] your respective employer said “get out of here I don’t hire black people,” and you went down to the courthouse, the courthouse door was locked. There’s nothing you could do about it…
Disability, same thing: Up until 1990, if you were a person with disability, and you were qualified for a job, and employer says, “No, get out of here, I don’t hire cripples,” you went and took your wheelchair down to the courthouse, you’d find the courthouse door was locked. You had absolutely no recourse. 1990, guess what? Courthouse doors are open.
That’s the same way again with people in our society who are lesbian gay bisexual or transgender…employer finds out you’re gay and says “get out of here, I don’t keep gay people around here, ‘queers’ around here,” like they say…Well, today you go down to the courthouse door, it’s closed. It’s locked. You have no recourse…
Frivolous lawsuits, I can tell you from my history of people with disabilities – in other words, people want to work. They don’t want to just go file lawsuits. People want to work. They want to be productive members of society. And that’s what this bill will do…
And the inclusion of transgender workers in the bill.…was that controversial within the caucus?
No. No, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t controversial in my committee…we had our hearings, and then we had a markup, and transgender was not an issue.
How many of the US Senators do you think know someone personally who’s transgender?
I haven’t the foggiest idea, Josh. I don’t know. I don’t know. I bet if they don’t know someone personally, they know someone who does…
In your time in the Senate, how much have you seen the attitudes of senators about LGBT people change?
Oh tremendously. Tremendously it’s changed. In fact, I said on the floor…we’re actually behind the American people on this issue. 80 per cent of the American people, in poll after poll, already believe that it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of LGBT…
The religious exception in the law – the breadth of that exception has been criticized by some groups including the ACLU. Do you believe that the exception as it exists is good policy?
…Well, I mean I have a philosophical problem with it. But I recognize that this exemption basically tracks the exemptions that we have in other civil rights legislation…So in that regard, we’re not expanding it any – we’re basically keeping it within the bounds of saying that you have to be a religiously-based entity or have some close connection there-to. Basically, I always say it this way: if your basic reason for being is for commercial activity, to make a profit, then you are covered under ENDA. If your basic reason and [what you] do mostly is religious in nature, then you’re not covered. I think that’s an exception that, given the context of times, we are as a society- I think it’s probably a reasonable exception.
When you say you “have a philosophical problem with it,” what do you mean?
Well I guess what I’ve said before is that people say they want a religious exemption so they can discriminate against people because they are lesbian gay bisexual or transgender. I have often asked the question: What kind of a religion is it that teaches that you can be a bigot? That’s my philosophical problem with it. To me, it seems to me that the basis of most religions are to love your neighbor as yourself. To break down bigotry. A religion that says that it’s alright to discriminate against people because of their race, or national origin, that’s the case, then I have a real question about the underlying basis of that religion. That’s just my philosophical problem.
Do you believe that if this law passes, that that religious exemption could change in the future?
Anything could change…I don’t think there would be enough support on the conservative side to enlarge it, probably not enough support on the liberal side to narrow it. It’s probably right about – as I said, the exemption really does track what we already have in civil rights law. It seems to have worked so far, so I think we’ll probably stay pretty close to that.
When you look at the progress that’s been made by advocates for LGBT equality, and you compare it to the defensive fights that progressives are fighting on some other issues, why do you think there’s been such a shift on these issues in the past several years?
Well, first of all I think the community – if I can say – of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons has formed a pretty strong force in our society. More and more people are – you used to say coming out, I don’t know if they even say that any more. More and more people are identifying, I’ll say that. It’s just not a big deal anymore, and I think in that regard that has strengthened their position. More and more and more friends, our neighbors and families, are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered…I think what it’s lent itself to is a new force in America – not just political force, but a force for economic force…
Should the president now sign an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers?
Why do you think that hasn’t happened?
Don’t know. Maybe this will help the president be able to sign it – the passage of this, 64 votes, indicates to the president he has nothing to fear. Go ahead and sign it. We’ve got hundreds of businesses supporting ENDA, church groups, everyone, so it’s got broad public support. So I would think this might give the president a little bit more underpinnings to go ahead and do such a executive order.
On Social Security: you’ve introduced leg to increase Social Security benefits…Why is this the time to increase Social Security?
Because our retirement system is shot all full of holes, and we need to shore up Social Security, make it more of a retirement system…
We need a new narrative out there. Everyone is saying we need to save Social Security by cutting it. That’s not true. There are little things you can do to save it and actually enhance it, make it better, and give Social Security retirees more income. That’s why I’ve introduced it.
Given how popular Social Security is with the public, why do you think it is such a target, with politicians and outside groups and media figures all calling for cuts to it?
You know…it just sort of became… popular thinking, accepted argument, that something is wrong with Social Security: “It’s going broke,” and you know, “too few people take it in and too many people take it out,” and “we’ve got to cut back on the entitlements.” “Entitlements.” I mean, Republicans have been on this for years and years and years…
And do you believe it is possible that this bill will make it through the Senate and through the House?
Well honestly, probably not right now. Keep in mind what I’m trying to do: I’m trying to set up an opposite…I wanted to put something else out there, that people might say “What? Harkin’s talking about increasing Social Security? How can that possibly be? It’s already going broke,” and all of that kind of stuff. Well, I hope I get people thinking about it…Just earlier this week there were some House Republicans that said they were open to removing the wage cap…Step in the right direction.
And are you committed to oppose any kind of budget deal that includes chained CPI as an aspect?
Absolutely – I will oppose chained CPI. Because that’s just another way of cutting Social Security…The older you are, and the poorer you are, the harder you’re hit by Chained CPI. It’s just regressive in that regard…Now what the heck kind of sense does that make?
…Remember they brought this whole thing about “death panels” and stuff on the elderly. And here, they’re calling, and a lot of people are trying to do chained CPI. It’s a penalty – the longer you live, it’s a penalty on you. It’s sort of like saying, “Don’t live so long.” It’s all wrong…It’s not needed…What we need is a CPI-e, as I proposed, which is a Consumer Price Index based on what elderly people spend their money on, not based on what 20 year-olds spend their money.
So you’re saying not just that you oppose it, but that you would oppose any kind of deal if it included chained CPI?
Well, never say never. I just – I can’t see any scenario right now where I would support chained CPI. If there’s some package that might be good out there that would raise the wage cap, change the bend points, do a couple of other things, I’d have to see what that looks like.
And if the president came to the Democratic caucus with some kind of deal that included chained CPI, what kind of reception do you think he would get from Democrats in the Senate?
Oh, there are obviously a few Democrats who have already publicly supported chained CPI, although I think as time has gone on, as they have learned more and more about what chained CPI does, they have become less and less vocal in their support for it. If the president came with this proposal for chained CPI, I don’t think he’d find very much support in the Democratic caucus. Very minor – maybe three or four or five, I don’t know. Very few. I have twenty-one Senate Democrats already on my bill that’s against the chained CPI.
You’ve had the president talking about the decline in growth in government as compared to the Eisenhower administration, you have the sequester cuts continuing to be in place – in the larger picture, are the Republicans winning on the size of government?
Well, I don’t know. I put myself in the category of one who’s never been just in favor of bigger government for bigger government’s sake. I’m in favor of government meeting certain essential obligations in our society. In cases that would be increasing government, in other areas it might be decreasing government. So the way I look at it is, I look upon it as what’s happening with our system now is that the middle class is losing. The middle class is losing, losing, and that’s what’s got to be stopped.
And what do you believe is possible to accomplish between now and the end of this Congress, while you still have Speaker Boehner’s House to deal with?
Well, what’s possible to accomplish depends on Speaker Boehner, and I cant read his mind …It used to be said that the Senate was the place that House bills went to die. Well now, it’s the House that’s killing all of these bills.
So what’s the prospects during this Congress? …I don’t know. But again, a lot of times in the face of these odds, you’ve got to come out, stake out your position, marshal your data and your facts, your arguments, and just stay at it. Because it takes quite a while to get the American people to understand what you’re talking about…It does take time.