ALEC Is Not Your Friend – Beware!

If you were wondering where a lot of the terrible laws and attacks on our rights are coming from, meet ALEC. From the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance…

“ALEC” is the American Legislative Exchange Council, and it may be the most powerful organization you (probably) never heard of. There’s a good chance ALEC already has impacted your life. And if it hasn’t yet, give it time.

ALEC describes itself as an organization that “provides a constructive forum for state legislators and private sector leaders to discuss and exchange practical, state-level public policy issues.” Others have called it a means for powerful corporations and interest groups to influence legislation to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.


Let’s look at specific examples. Insurance companies wanted off the hook from mesothelioma claims, so ALEC came forward with a model bill to protect corporations from asbestos exposure liability. The bill quickly was introduced in Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, and at the federal level. The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act would require asbestos victims and their families to publicly disclose all manner of personal information before receiving compensation. This information could be used to deny credit or employment and make the victims vulnerable to identity theft. The point, obviously, is to intimidate people from filing claims. No such disclosure is required of companies that exposed employees and customers to asbestos.

In fact, liability protection is a major focus of ALEC bills. As of August 2013, this year at least 71 bills crafted by ALEC have been introduced around the country that make it harder to hold corporations accountable for death or injury. Many have misleading names, such as the “Full and Fair Noneconomic Damages Act,” introduced in two states, that limits the amount a corporation has to pay to compensate people it has injured.

Go read the whole article and beware!

Republicans, The Adolescent Party!

This clip shows the mentality of the Grand Old Party, like when I was 8 years old and saying the opposite of everything my older brother said. It was a fun game for me because it drove my brother nuts. I don’t think that grown women and men really should be playing this game with the future of our country, no matter how much fun the adolescent Republicans are having. After all, only adults can vote.

Republicans Are Out Of Ideas!

They have nothing to offer anymore, no new ideas, no compassion for anyone, nothing. They are the “nothing party.” I saw Andrew Ross Sorkin on Morning Jerkoff with Starbucks this morning and he proclaimed that we must “cut taxes.” Give me a freakin break, is that the only response the right and the financial sector bots have, cut taxes?  They’ve been brainwashed repeatedly over the years to believe it, like zombies “must cut taxes, must cut taxes”…’s so ridiculous. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” All you have to do is look back over the last 30 years at the growth of the national debt under Republican vs. Democratic presidents to see that this tactic does nothing but shift the wealth from the middle and lower income TAXPAYERS, to the wealthiest in our country who know every tax shelter and loophole there is to keep that money in their own damn pockets.

Kay over at WhiteNoiseInsanity has an excellent post up on this and other outrages from the right. Here is a sample…

Seriously, all I hear is bitching, complaining, and whining from the right wingers. Do they have any answers? Not that I can see. Let me know if you hear of one. Maybe if we all rubbed and stroked Scott Brown’s business suit the answers would come easily and our nation will be saved? Huh. Maybe.

Kay goes on to sum up the state of Republican thinking…..

Our nation had 8 years of blatant fascism under George Bush and we’ve had a one year reprieve thanks to President Obama being in the White House, but what is most disturbing is an Animal Farm Revolution is underway again where the animals are demanding to go back to those 8 years of fascism because they believe it’s better and they’ll be happier! How many times do we have to tell the imbeciles of our country that whenever we have a republican president in the White House our nation goes into a recession, our money ends up missing in huge clumps, and we end up miserable and suffering?

To paraphrase someone who isn’t coming to mind, Republicans think government can’t do anything right and then they get elected and prove it.

A Typical Republican

A Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina has compared giving people government assistance to feeding stray animals. Seriously. He goes on to explain that if you feed them, they will reproduce. This man is Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina. From The State

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” Bauer said.

So apparently in America, the way to deal with poverty is to starve them to death so they don’t reproduce. This is an elected official in 2010, not the 1800’s but 2010.

In South Carolina, 58 percent of students participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program.

Bauer’s remarks came during a speech in which he said government should take away assistance if those receiving help didn’t pass drug tests or attend parent-teacher conferences or PTA meetings if their children were receiving free and reduced-price lunches.

Just take it away from them, starve them, that will show them not to be poor. So many of these people are the working poor in this country, they go to work everyday but still can’t make ends meet. What sort of country do we live in that we treat our own citizens with such contempt. We are supposedly the greatest country on the planet, but we can’t seem to feed our people, give them proper health care, proper schools or keep them safe.

Democrats Are In Great Shape!

I’m going out on a limb here, I think the democrats are in great shape going into the 2010 elections. I say it despite the various pundits and bloggers who are saying the opposite. I’ve been watching the dynamics of the health care reform battle, the tea party movement, the Sarah Palin phenomenon, Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, the Obama haters, the polls and I’m beginning to think that when the dust settles in November of 2010, we will see a much different picture than people are painting right now.

The Tea Party movement will split the republicans. In many areas they are threatening to challenge republican candidates in the primary if you don’t agree with them on nearly everything. They are infiltrating the party at ground level. If they succeed in getting their kind nominated, a whole lot of republicans and independents will vote for the democrat in the general election. If they form a third party, which may happen, it will split what’s left of the conservative vote and democratic candidates will fair better. The “Tea Partiers” could have a significant effect in the primaries by selecting more extreme candidates which will turn off many moderate republicans in the general election. Both parties rely on the middle to get elected, except in districts that are solid one way or the other.

I’ve been studying election polls for years both in college courses and independently and they are used and abused by the media in many ways. My theory on polls is that they are not reliable at predicting voter behavior on election day except within a month of the election. The main reason for this is the vast majority of voters don’t really pay attention to candidates or issues until the election gets near. There are us political junkies who follow way too closely, but I keep telling myself that polls fluctuate wildly and the methodologies of many of them are questionable. For a great example of this, go read Nate Silver’s analysis of a poll commissioned by the off the rail blog Firedoglake. It’s revealing of how a poll can get you the results you want, if you write the questions and order the questions in the “right” way.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight is the absolute best at interpreting and analyzing polls and whenever a new poll comes, I rush over to Nate’s blog and see what he has to say about it. He’s honest and tells it like it is, whether it’s what you want to hear or not.

I’m not feeling doom and gloom for the democrats in the next election. If you look at the non “horserace” questions, you get a much more accurate picture of what might happen in the future. Drawing any conclusions about what might happen 10 months from now is a fools game. My optimism for the democratic party isn’t based on polls, whether they are good ones or not. It’s based on the dynamics of many variables including the “Tea Party Movement”, health care reform and all the rest.

So having said all that, here are some numbers from polls that are revealing. The generic democratic versus republican question in regards to congress has dems at 38, reps at 37 according to My theory, which isn’t original, is that in our two party system, both parties have about 35% solid support. There is another 10% or so that are pretty reliable for each party. The last 10% can go either way. Now depending on what part of the country you live in, these can vary quite a bit, but when you average it all out, the numbers above are pretty close. This poll shows republican support at the lowest in a decade. So the battle is generally in the middle with independent and moderates from both parties. The Democratic party has been swinging towards the middle when it comes to candidates whereas the republicans are clearly swinging to the right with the Tea Party crowd, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and all the rest of the loudest, most conservative wing of the party. The independents and moderates will go towards the candidate that shows that moderation.

Now some on the left have had some success at getting the base riled up, especially about health care and Afghanistan. If we look at the health care debate in particular, the people who don’t want any reform and the ones who want the most drastic reform, have teamed up to make the president look unpopular in the current moment. That’s what happens when you compromise, you get it from both sides. But that won’t translate into a massive change in votes in the next election, I am sure of that. People will return to their base principals and vote the way they always do, except for that moderate middle, they will swing whichever way depending on lots of things. The Jane Hamshers of the world who like to threaten candidates, hold guns to their heads, smear their wives, a petition every other week demanding something or another…they have their loyal little following who may not vote or may cast a “protest” vote for a Republican. But for the most part, this effort won’t have an effect on any elections. They may try to claim they do, but they are just trying to get clicks and then more clicks on their “donate” tabs which litter all the “non profits” they seem to run. Public Policy Polling has a great post with poll results that show the democratic faithful are just that, faithful. So when these Obama haters like Hamsher, Uygur, Marsh and the few others start over-inflating their impact, throw this poll in their face and tell them to read it and weep, real democrats support their party.