Rogue Police Or Plutocrat Controlled?

This is a great piece by Larry Beck of

Rogue Police Or Plutocrat Controlled?.

Two recent reports have surfaced recently, pretty close together, that has me concerned about the state of the police force in NY City.   The first comes from a neighborhood news blog called New York about a young couple – Matthew Swaye, 35, and his partner Christina Gonzalez, 25 – who see themselves as “peace activists” and are engaged in going about the city video taping police officers as they enact “search and frisk” measures  on people who they feel look suspicious.  In doing this Swaye and Gonzalez have incurred the ire of the NYPD by posting what clearly looked like a criminal “wanted poster” of Matthew and Christina, seen in this YouTube video taken by the young couple. 

Read more…Rogue Police Or Plutocrat Controlled?.


Sunday Funnies — 07/15/2012

Christian Conservatives Have No Problem With Lying

My mother receives the American Family Association journal, which comes out once a month. They are known for supporting “traditional family values,” i.e., anti-marriage equality, anti-Obama, anti-Democrat. I decided to read through it and see what kind of articles were in it and that is when I came across an article titled Evidence of Executive Enmity written by…wait for it….David Barton. He tries to make a case that President Obama is against “people of biblical faith.” 

As I read through this I had to laugh at some of the outlandish accusations, outright lies they write, and this was in a two-page article. I have listed a few them below for your entertainment. 

Lie #1: April 2010 — Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer because of complaints from the Muslim community: 

FACT:  The Army has disinvited Christian evangelist Franklin Graham from speaking at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service on May 6 because of his past controversial comments about Islam. In 2001, the son of the evangelist Billy Graham described Islam as evil and said last year that he found it to be “a very violent religion.” Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins confirmed today, that at the Army’s request, the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office had contacted Graham to withdraw the invitation extended to him to be the main speaker at the Pentagon’s observance of the National Day of Prayer.   Speaking of Graham’s past comments, Collins said, “Army leadership became aware of the issue and immediately recognized it was problematic. ” He added, “This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue.”  

Lie #2: April 2009 — Speaking at Georgetown, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech.  

FACT:  Georgetown University spokeswoman Julie Green Bataille: In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage.  

The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches. Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.  

Lie #3: May 2009 — Obama declines to host services for the National Day of Prayer (a day established by federal law) at the White House.

FACT: This latest claim of President Obama’s alleged hostility to prayer spread quickly after being posted on Facebook in mid-April, and it was still being repeated as the May 6 date approached. It is contradicted by the chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force itself, Shirley Dobson. In an April 17 “update” on the task force’s website,, she wrote:

Dobson: I want to emphasize that the 2010 National Day of Prayer will continue as planned… Whether it’s our national observance on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., or the many thousands of gatherings scheduled elsewhere, we will come together on May 6th for what I’m confident will be a powerful time of intercession.  It is our understanding that President Obama will be signing a proclamation again this yea, and we are hopeful that governors and government officials will also do so as they have in the past.   

And indeed, the White House has confirmed (in a brief message transmitted via Twitter) that “[a]s he did last year, President Obama intends to recognize a National Day of Prayer.” The bogus claim that Obama canceled the 2010 event is a warmed-over version of similar false claims that circulated last year. They began when Obama decided in 2009 not to hold a White House Observance in the East Room, as President Bush had done during his administration. Instead Obama issued a presidential proclamation close to the day of the event.

It said in part:   Obama, May 7, 2009: I call upon Americans to pray in thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we love. Far from being canceled, the 2009 event went on as scheduled. Organizers later said the 58th annual event produced “a greater outpouring of prayer for our nation … than ever before.” 

Here are a few more lies that David Barton and the AFA like to spread about President Obama, and lets not beat around the bush…this is racism, plain and simple! 

June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. 

September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.”   

November 2011 – The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans. 

February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian.  

FACT:  Thank you to Larry Beck of for providing this information: 

West Point didn’t disinvite Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin. He cancelled the appointment himself after veteran and Muslim groups protested his name on the list Boykin is the religious fanatic that President George W. Bush himself “repudiated … in 2003 for various anti-Muslim comments, including the suggestion that the war against terrorism was a war against Satan.”
Source: Raw Story (

February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei).   

April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. 

November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. 

April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. 

November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. 

November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving message. 

December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights.

Thank you to Larry Beck of for contributing to this post!

Middle Class Would Find Higher Taxes Under Republican Plan

The Congressional Research Service released a report last month reviewing the Republicans proposed tax reform plan that would broaden the tax base, and what they found was that under their proposal the net result would be cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on the middle and lower class. The report was actually prepared by Democrats and they then sent their findings to be reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts including The Tax Policy Center. I have noticed this has received very little attention so I wanted to share some their findings.   

Under the GOP plan, they would replace the current tax structure with a two bracket system (otherwise known as a flat tax) — 25% and 10% — cutting the top tax rate from the current 35% to 25%. This would benefit everyone and result in a reduction of federal tax collection by $4.5 trillion dollars. Now on its face it sounds great, the middle class would pay a 10% flat tax rate. 

Here is the catch — Republicans including their golden boy Paul Ryan want to get rid of special interest tax loopholes and tax shelters. 

The Republicans have declined to specify the exact loopholes they would target, but what we do know is, based on their record, they are united in opposing ending any subsidies for industries such as oil and gas. 

The study found that the biggest loopholes that are currently in the system consist of tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, and these all disproportionately benefit the middle class. 

According to the Joint Economic Committee, “although households earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year would save about $7,000 from the lower tax rates in the GOP plan, those savings would be swamped by eliminating major deductions.” 

This would result in married couples falling in that income range would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the IRS, on top of the tax increases Bush tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. Households earning more than $1 million a year would get a tax cut of about $300,000 annually (multi-millionaires would receive a huge tax break) while people making under $200,000 will see their taxes rise

Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center has reviewed the Committee’s report and he says:

That even though the numbers are rough its conclusions are largely accurate. Even with eliminating fairly major tax preferences, the Ryan tax plan remains regressive. That’s the bottom line. Unless you go after the tax preferences that benefit the wealthy, i.e., capital gains, dividends, tax-free interest on municipal bonds, it’s really hard to undo the regressivity of the rate changes. You’ll be shifting the burden of the tax code toward the middle class

I guess there is a reason why whenever Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans are asked to give specifics on their flat-tax plan, they refuse and then go to their usual talking points, i.e., we need to broaden the base, let everyone have skin in the game…my favorite….we can’t raise taxes on the job creators, etc. This is yet another example that shows who Republicans are working for…the rich.

Science Friday — Genetically Targeted Cancer Treatments

Being a two-time cancer survivor I am always interested in the next big thing scientists are finding to help in the treatment for cancer. New York Times wrote a 3 part article about Dr. Lukas Wartman of Washington University, a doctor who specializes in leukemia who was diagnosed with leukemia.

After his diagnosis, his colleagues at the university’s genome institute decided to see if they could find the cancer gene that was causing the cancer instead of the cells or organs. Last fall his colleagues were successful in sequencing his cancer genome and what they found led to a treatment plan targeting his specific genetic makeup. This experimental treatment has so far been a success. 

Dr. Ley’s team tried a type of analysis that they had never done before. They fully sequenced the genes of both his cancer cells and healthy cells for comparison, and at the same time analyzed his RNA, a close chemical cousin to DNA, for clues to what his genes were doing. 

The researchers on the project put other work aside for weeks, running one of the university’s 26 sequencing machines and supercomputer around the clock. And they found a culprit — a normal gene that was in overdrive, churning out huge amounts of a protein that appeared to be spurring the cancer’s growth. 

Even better, there was a promising new drug that might shut down the malfunctioning gene — a drug that had been tested and approved only for advanced kidney cancer. Dr. Wartman became the first person ever to take it for leukemia.  And now, against all odds, his cancer is in remission and has been since last fall. 

While no one can say that Dr. Wartman is cured, after facing certain death last fall, he is alive and doing well. Dr. Wartman is a pioneer in a new approach to stopping cancer. What is important, medical researchers say, is the genes that drive a cancer, not the tissue or organ — liver or brain, bone marrow, blood or colon — where the cancer originates. 

One woman’s breast cancer may have different genetic drivers from another woman’s and, in fact, may have more in common with prostate cancer in a man or another patient’s lung cancer. 

Read the full article: “In Treatment for Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future.” 

Part two in the series: “A New Treatment’s Tantalizing Promise Brings Heartbreaking Ups and Downs” 

And part three: “A Game Changer in Revealing a Cancer’s Prognosis.” 

One more thing.  I found this great site (here) that actually tracks in real-time conversations about breast cancer on twitter.

Romney Responds to NAACP Booing: If “They” Want Free Stuff….Vote For The Other Guy

I wrote a post yesterday about the reception Romney received at the NAACP convention yesterday. Needless to say, he failed to make any progress in his effort to gain support from the African-American community. In fact, there are some political pundits who believe his true intention for speaking at the convention was not to gain support but in fact to shore up the Republican base by going there to incite the attendees. 

Rachel Maddow made note on her show last night that “it was pretty obvious Romney wanted to get booed and he’s not wasting any time showing us why. He’s all ready with the race baiting right out of the gate.”

Later in the day Romney responded to being booed at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana.  

Remind them of this, if they want more free stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.

 I guess we don’t really need to guess who “them” are.  Also, I am wondering if he even cares anymore about getting African-American support.

NAACP Booed Mitt Romney For Calling On Repeal of Obamacare

I wonder if Romney realized who his audience was when speaking at the NAACP convention. Did he think he was at the Koch brothers fundraiser in the Hampton’s, one of the three he attended over the weekend? Because it is hard to image why he would call for a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act to an audience whose majority of constituents would benefit from it.  

He also told the audience that he would “support traditional marriage” I assume forgetting that the NAACP came out in support of same-sex marriage a few months back. 

Yet again, more examples of just how out of touch this man is. I think it is safe to say he failed at making any headway in gaining support from the people attending. Nice try though, Willard!