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When Roger West first launched the progressive political blog "News From The Other Side" in May 2010, he could hardly have predicted the impact that his venture would have on the media and political debate. As the New Media emerged as a counterbalance to established media sources, Roger wrote his copious blogs about national politics, the tea party movement, mid-term elections, and the failings of the radical right to the vanguard of the New Media movement. Roger West's efforts as a leading blogger have tremendous reach. NFTOS has led the effort to bring accountability to mainstream media sources such as FOX NEWS, Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 92 million visitors - give him unique insight into the past, present, and future of the New Media and political rhetoric that exists in our society today. What we are against: Radical Right Wing Agendas Incompetent Establishment Donald J. Trump Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability THE RESISTANCE

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buyers Remorse

Voters Around The Country Afflicted With Buyer’s Remorse Over New GOP Governors.

Over time we have done a lot of coverage of controversial policy measures being inaugurated around the country by the new breed of Republican governors elected last fall due to the recession. And according to survey data from Margie Omero at Public Policy Polling, the voters in most of these states (though not all, Nevada’s an exception) aren’t liking the cocktail of budget cuts, union-busting, anti-abortion laws, etc.

Polls show voters in battleground states regret having voted for their new Republican Governors. Since February, Democratic firm PPP released surveys in eight states asking voters “if you could do last fall’s election for Governor over again, how would you vote?” In seven of the eight, the Democrat now would win, with all seven showing double-digit improvements in their margin. (Only Rory Reid in Nevada still trails.) The chart below shows both the actual 2010 margin and the new margin, sorted by the shift.

There are, in fact, recall drives afoot in at least some of these states. But despite these polls and those efforts, voters can’t generally stage a “do-over” on the election. The resulting conservative policy shifts — often notwithstanding the wishes of the voters — are part of the ongoing price the country is paying for the inadequacy of economic recovery measures adopted during the 110th Congress. Macroeconomic performance is the main driver of political outcomes, and, simply put, macroeconomic performance wasn’t good enough last year to stop the opposition party from sweeping into office despite an extreme agenda that voters don’t like once they see it.


Monday, May 30, 2011



From the staff at NFTOS

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Jersey Govna Loses Testacles to Koch Brother

Bowing To Koch Pressure, Chris Christie Announces Plan To Withdraw From Successful Climate Initiative.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to kill New Jersey’s participation in the nation’s first successful carbon trading program. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a ten-state climate and clean energy program that has reduced emissions and brought tens of millions of dollars to New Jersey ratepayers. Following a multi-million-dollar campaign to derail RGGI by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, Christie today called RGGI a “gimmicky” program that is “nothing more than a tax on electricity.”

But in a 2008 campaign ad, Christie said, “I will be New Jersey’s number-one clean-energy advocate.” He explicitly embraced President Obama’s climate and clean energy goals, which included a national cap-and-trade system for clean energy investment:
There is no doubt that renewable energy is the future here in New Jersey and there is really no better time for us to begin the discussion about how it will not only lead us to energy independence, but also how it will help create more good paying, middle class jobs in New Jersey. It’s a change that President Obama stands firmly behind. we couldn’t agree more.
Watch it here at NFTOS:

Christie has now joined Tea Party opposition to Obama’s clean-energy policy to the detriment of programs he once supported. In his press conference today, Christie said he didn’t want to “overplay” the benefits to ratepayers because “we’re not talking about a huge difference.”

In fact, in addition to reducing New Jersey’s emissions by around 80,000 tons per year, this “gimmicky” program brought back $29.6 million to New Jersey ratepayers in 2010, supporting enough clean electricity to supply 20,000 homes. A new progress report out from RGGI shows that for every dollar invested by the program, states have gotten $3 to $4 in benefits.
“There’s only one thing you need to do in order to pull out of RGGI – ignore all the tangible, clean energy benefits. That’s it,” said the Conservation Law Foundation’s Seth Kaplan to Think Progress. “Christie’s had a good record in the past. The only reason to pull out now would be to score some ideological political points.”
New Jersey follows three other states – Delaware, Maine and New Hampshire – that have considered pulling out of RGGI. Resisting the polluting influence of Koch-backed lobbying and media campaigns, all those states decided to remain in the program because of the proven, positive benefits to ratepayers and businesses.

Politico notes that Christie is trying to make clear that he is not a global warming skeptic. “In the past I’ve always said that climate change is real and it’s impacting our state,” Christie said at the start of a 14-minute prepared statement. “There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade, average temperatures have been rising. Temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate.”


Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Jersey Governor Gets Dose of Reality

New Jersey Supreme Court Orders State To Restore $500 Million In Education Funding Stripped By Gov. Christie.

The New Jersey Constitution requires the state to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.” Yet, because the state failed to meet this obligation in many of its poorest school districts, the state Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to stop underfunding those districts more than 20 years ago. In 2009, the court finally determined that the state had complied with its decades-old order, and ended much of its oversight of the state’s education funding. Sadly, Gov. Chris Christie (R) almost immediately took this as a license to slash education funding for the poor.

Yesterday, however, the justices reminded Christie that he is not allowed to thumb his nose at the state constitution, and it ordered the state to restore $500 million that had been stripped from the state’s most needy districts. As the court’s official summary of the opinion explains:

The State applied to this Court two years ago, asking to be relieved of the orders that required parity funding and supplemental funding for children in the so-called “Abbott districts” in exchange for providing funding to those districts in accordance with SFRA. The State persuaded this Court to give it the benefit of the doubt that SFRA would work as promised and would provide adequate resources for the provision of educational services sufficient to enable pupils to master the Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS).

When the Court granted the State the relief it requested, it was not asked to allow, and did not authorize, the State to replace the parity remedy with some version of SFRA or an underfunded version of the formula. In respect of the failure to provide full funding under SFRA’s formula to Abbott districts, the State’s action amounts to nothing less than a reneging on the representations it made when it was allowed to exchange SFRA funding for the parity remedy. Thus, the State has breached the very premise underlying the grant of relief it secured with Abbott XX.
Yesterday’s decision opens a hopeful new chapter for children in struggling school districts. At least 19 state supreme courts have held that their states’ substandard public schools for low-income students violates the state constitution, but these decisions often fall into a predictable pattern. The court orders the state to fix its substandard school districts, the state delays for 20 years or more, and eventually, the state supreme court loses its will and backs down.  
Christie clearly hoped that the New Jersey Supremes would follow this all-too-common pattern and back away from New Jersey’s constitutional guarantee that an excellent education is every child’s birthright. But when Christie tried to stare the court down, the justices refused to blink.

Yesterday was not a total victory for New Jersey’s school children — the court restored funding to many of the state’s poorest districts, but it declined to restore cuts that benefit struggling students in wealthier districts. Nevertheless, it is a clear rebuke to Chris Christie, and a reminder that conservative governors flout their states’ constitution.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eric Bolling to Replace The Prophet Beck?

Potential Glenn Beck Replacement Eric Bolling’s Racially-Tinged Language: ‘Obama Chugging 40′s’ In Ireland .

While on his tour of Europe, President Obama traveled to the Irish hometown of an ancestor yesterday where he drank a pint of Guinness, which he joked tasted “so much better here than it does in the States,” becasue “you guys are — you’re keeping all the best stuff here!”

Faux Business host Eric Bolling — who has been filling in for Glenn Beck in recent weeks and is rumored to be a potential replacement for the paranoid prime timer — was not amused, taking to Facebook and Twitter to slam the president for celebrating his Irish heritage while Americans suffer from the aftermath of the Missouri tornadoes:

“40′s” is a slang name for 40oz malt liquor bottles. But Obama drank from a pint glass (not a bottle) of beer that doesn’t come in 40oz bottles. Why did Bolling say Obama was “chugging 40′s”? As even some of Bolling’s Facebook commenter note, it’s an eyebrow-raising choice of words, given the beverage’s long-time association with African American stereotypes.

Throughout the late 80s and 90s, 40 oz malt liquor was rolled out with “aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at minority drinkers,” which often portrayed black actors and rappers in stereotypical or exploitative fashions. There is a fairly large body of academic literature exploring the relationship between malt liquor and African Americans, and 40 oz stereotypes were even mocked in the 2009 parody of “blacksploitation” films, “Black Dynamite.”

Hip hop culture has appropriated malt liquor, with numerous songs with “40 oz” in the title. “Rap artists have been popular images in malt liquor advertising and ‘gangsta’ rap performers portray malt liquor as a sign of masculinity,” a 2005 study of malt liquor consumption noted. But more socially conscious rappers have condemned malt liquor’s association with mainstream hip hop culture, with Public Enemy’s Chuck D writing an entire song — “One Million Bottlebags” — on the topic.

Last month, Bolling infamously devoted an entire segment to questioning the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, after he had released the long form version, along with birther Islamophobe Pam Geller. (HT: LGF)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wisconsin Orders Recall Election

For three GOP Senators.

Despite massive protests, procedural obstacles, and restraining orders, the Wisconsin GOP hustled Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union bill into law in March. Now, they’re paying a steep political price. Democratic and labor activists launched an effort to recall six Republicans who supported crippling the right of public employees to collectively bargain.

They needed roughly 15,000 signatures to secure recall elections for each senator. In each case, “more than 21,000 signatures were gathered.” Today, the non-partisan state election officials announced the success of their efforts by ordering a recall election for state GOP Sens. Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, and Luther Olsen on July 12:

The Wisconsin board that oversees elections rejected most challenges Monday to a recall effort targeting three Republican state senators, clearing the way for a July 12 election.

The Government Accountability Board [GAB] rejected the challenges made to recall petitions targeting Republican Sens. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon.
Republicans argued that the campaigns improperly filed initial paperwork to launch the petition drive and that some signatures should not be counted, but the GAB rejected the arguments and, in the case of Kapanke, unanimously decided to order a recall election. The other GOP lawmakers facing recall elections are state Sens. Robert Cowles, Sheila Harsdorf, and Alberta Darling. The board will judge those petitions on May 31, “and likely would certify all the petitions that same week.”  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Faux News' Roger Ailes Thinks Palin's An Idiot

New York Mag: Ailes Has Extensive Influence On GOP Politics, Thinks Palin Is An "Idiot"

Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck

New York magazine is out with an extensive profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes that details the significant role he plays in conservative politics. Furthering the evidence that Fox News is simply a campaign arm of the GOP, the piece quotes an anonymous Republican aide who states that "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger," and notes that Ailes actively encouraged Republican Governor Chris Christie to run for president. Ailes also apparently doesn't think too highly of his employee, Sarah Palin, who, according to a source close to Ailes, he thinks "is an idiot." From the article:
A few months ago, Ailes called Chris Christie and encouraged him to jump into the race. Last summer, he'd invited Christie to dinner at his upstate compound along with Rush Limbaugh, and like much of the GOP Establishment, he fell hard for Christie, who nevertheless politely turned down Ailes's calls to run. Ailes had also hoped that David Petraeus would run for president, but Petraeus too has decided to sit this election out, choosing to stay on the counterterrorism front lines as the head of Barack Obama's CIA. The truth is, for all the antics that often appear on his network, there is a seriousness that underlies Ailes's own politics. He still speaks almost daily with George H. W. Bush, one of the GOP's last great moderates, and a war hero, which especially impresses Ailes.
All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger," one GOPer told me. "Every single candidate has consulted with Roger." But he hasn't found any of them, including the adults in the room--Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney--compelling. "He finds flaws in every one," says a person familiar with his thinking.

"He thinks things are going in a bad direction," another Republican close to Ailes told me. "Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she's stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven't elevated the conservative movement."
The entire article is worth a read and includes revelations that Ailes threatened to quit in 2008 if News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch endorsed Barack Obama, and that Ailes thought that Obama's call for a new civilian corp meant that the president wanted to create a "national police force," a conspiracy theory that Glenn Beck has since adopted.

Check the whole thing out here.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Faux Business News..”Be Ashamed That You’re In Poverty”

Fox Business maligned essential anti-poverty programs, deriding food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit as "a form a welfare, income redistribution" and evidence that America now has an "entitlement mentality."

Host Stuart Varney's attack on these programs came just as a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed just how essential these and other government programs are to keeping tens of millions of Americans out of poverty.

Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that "public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty -- primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor -- and that the poverty rate would double without these programs." The CBPP included a graph to show just how important these programs are for reducing poverty amongst millions of Americans:

Yet Varney bemoaned "all these people on food stamps," Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit and unemployment insurance as "a form of welfare, income redistribution" and "entitlement mentality." Watch it here at NFTOS:

Varney completely ignored the need for such programs to keep millions of Americans out of poverty. After guest and Democratic strategist Krystal Ball defended the social safety net, Fox's Charles Payne castigated poor people for not being embarrassed enough about their situation:

PAYNE: Krystal, there's no doubt that these are good programs. I think the real narrative here, though, is that people aren't embarrassed by it. People aren't ashamed by it. In other words, the there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on food stamps; there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on unemployment for six months, let alone demanding to be on it for more than two years. I think that's what Stu is trying to say, is that, when the president says Wall Street is at fault, so, you are entitled to get anything that you want from the government, because it's not really your fault. No longer is the man being told to look in the mirror and cast down a judgment on himself; it's someone else's fault. So food stamps, unemployment, all of this stuff, is something that they probably earned in some indirect way.

Maybe, just maybe it's Fox Business who should be ashamed of themselves.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Glenn Beck Says...............

“The NY Times Thought "Hitler Was Really Great"

NFTOS hasn’t blogged on Beck in awhile, so here is a story to show that this tool has now morphed to a full blown asshat! It’s evident and clear that Beck is once again slandering the times, but hey it’s Glenn Beck and we expect nothing less from the Mormon prophet.

If you've watched the Glenn Beck program on Faux News lately -- if you haven't, you'd better hurry, because the clock's ticking -- you know that Beck thinks something terrible is about to happen to Israel and the Jewish people. What that thing is he hasn't really explained, but it has something to do with the Nazis.

To that end, on his program this evening Beck went after the New York Times for their 1933 review of Hitler's Mein Kampf and claimed that the Times, despite being aware of Hitler's persecution of the Jews, took a soft tone on the Fuhrer. Beck summarized what he said was the Times' tone: "Hitler is really great! Have you seen Germany and all the happy people? OK, the Jew thing is really bad, but have you seen all the happy people?"

Beck says he knows this because "we do our homework." Well, I do my homework, too.

The Times review of Hitler's memoir (behind the Times paywall) was anything but laudatory of the man. Contrary to Beck's claim that it treated Hitler's persecution of the Jews as an afterthought, the entire second half of the Times review is devoted to describing Hitler's "bitter prejudice and libel of the Jews," going so far as to compare the English translation of Mein Kampf to the German original and noting that "even in the abridged translation there are pages and pages of attacks upon the Jews, but many more pages of such attacks are omitted." (The first half of the review focused largely on Hitler's efforts to consolidate power and make Germany "ready for a war of conquest and revenge.")

The reviewer, James W. Gerard, did make passing mention of Hitler's "good" contributions to German society, as Beck notes. But to suggest that they were the focus of the piece is an outright lie, as demonstrated by the conclusion, in which Gerard calls for unified action to stand against Hitler's anti-Semitism:

The civilized world took a strong stand against the Turks because of their massacres of the Bulgarians at one time, and of the Armenians at another, against the atrocities of the Belgian Congo, against the cruelties in the rubber forests of the Amazon. Think of our own indignation at the concentration camps of Cuba, which led eventually to the freeing of that lovely island from the yoke of Spain. With horror we read of the expulsion of Jews from Spain, and now that the world is bound in smaller compass by radio, airplane, express steamers, by constant congresses of religions and commerce, we have all of us a right to criticize, to boycott a nation which reverts to the horrible persecutions of the Dark Ages, we have a right to form a blockade of public opinion about this misguided country.

It is with sadness, tinged with fear for the world's future, that we read Hitler's hymn of hate against that race which has added so many names to the roll of the great in science, in medicine, in surgery, in music and the arts, in literature and all uplifting human endeavor.  
This isn't the first time that Beck has reached into the New York Times' archive to slander the paper. Back in February, he said the Times "heaped praises" on Benito Mussolini in a 1923 article, selectively editing the article to omit the portions condemning the Italian fascist as "just as great a danger to the peace of Europe as the Kaiser's sword used to be at Berlin."

His last show at Faux News can’t get here quick enough!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Ohio Tea Bag Leader To Boehner: ‘I Am Sick Of The Tears'

Cry Baby Boehner

Ohio Tea Bag activists may have the ear of the most powerful Republican in Washington, but they gave him an earful at a private meeting last month. Reuters reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) quietly convened a meeting with 25 Tea Party leaders in his district, but they didn’t seem to be too appreciative. Denise Robertson of the Preble County Liberty Group even vowed to run a primary candidate against Boehner and said she’s sick of seeing Boehner cry in public again and again:

She said “my fantasy now” is someone will challenge Boehner in the 2012 Republican primaries. “If we could find someone good to run against him, I’d campaign for them every day,” Robertson said.

I am sick of the tears,” she added, a sarcastic reference to Boehner’s famous propensity to cry. “I want results.”
Boehner, along with much of the GOP, is “stuck between the Tea Party and a hard place.” But, he only has himself to blame for bringing the activists into the fold and over-promising what he could deliver with control of a single chamber of Congress. Boehner has already been hammered by his hometown Tea Bag leaders for trying weaken Congressional ethics laws. In March, an activist infamously told GOP leaders to “take off your lace panties.” Yesterday, the national group Tea Party Nation set an email to supporters saying, “It is time to replace Boehner now.”  


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Trump Decides……..

To Pick $50 Million Entertainment Career Over Presidential Race

Announcing that he wouldn’t run for president on Monday, Donald Trump said in a statement that “business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.” It’s not surprising that he didn’t choose to run a campaign that he almost certainly would have lost. But Trump’s decision was probably based as much on an ultimatum from NBC, the network that runs The Apprentice, Trump’s one undisputed business triumph, as it was by any particular love of business.  

Mike Huckabee’s contract with Fox News pays him $500,000 a year, a sum that’s been quoted often in discussions of his decision not to run for president. But that contract pales in comparison to Trump’s take from his entertainment ventures: in its list of the wealthiest entertainers in 2009 and 2010, Forbes estimated that Trump makes $50 million annually from his entertainment ventures.

Trump might not have to sacrifice all of that income if he ran for president, because some of it comes from speaking fees, books, and products like a menswear line. There are no prohibitions on candidates receiving money for services rendered, so Trump probably could continue doing product endorsements as long as he wasn’t being paid unusually high rates for them, though he might have dropped some clients in order to avoid conflicts of interest or to appear more substantive. And NBC’s president for programming, Bob Greenblatt, told entertainment reporters that if Trump ran for president, the network would replace him but continue the show with a new host, a move they’d likely have been required to make to comply with equal time rules. That very public announcement left Trump with the unpleasant prospect of a campaign that could strip him of the most legitimate business enterprise in his portfolio.

Trump’s brief, incendiary campaign may have long-term negative implications for his brand, especially given how much he harped on President Obama’s citizenship. But continuing The Apprentice, one of the few things NBC knows works in the current lineup, gives Greenblatt desperately-needed breathing room to roll out an ambitious new programming schedule. Trump’s pseudo-run may have set the bar low for ugliness in the 2012 Republican primary, but in the short term, he’s still good business for NBC.


Monday, May 16, 2011


In 1983, Reagan Warned Of ‘Incalculable Damage’ If Debt Ceiling Wasn’t Raised.

As of today, the United States has officially hit its legal borrowing limit, bumping into the statutory debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has some options at its disposal for delaying default, but those will be exhausted around August 2.

For months, Republicans have been claiming that they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling — and thus risk the widespread economic consequences of the U.S. eventually defaulting on its debt — unless several conditions are met, including cuts to Medicare and Social Security. In fact, some Republicans have said that they think that default wouldn’t be so bad. “The case has not been made that this is an absolute necessity,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI).

However, Republicans poo-pooing the necessity of raising the debt ceiling might want to look to conservative icon Ronald Reagan. In 1983, Reagan warned that the consequences of failing to raise the nation’s borrowing limit “are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate”:

The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.
In a 1987 radio address, Reagan also said, “Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinksmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar.”

Several key Republican leaders, including Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) have admitted that failing to raise the debt ceiling is simply not an option, with Boehner saying that it would be a “disaster,” while Ryan called it “unworkable.” But the GOP continues to play games, inching the U.S. ever closer to the scenario that Reagan explicitly warned against.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Mitt’s Health Care Proposal

Five things you should know:

The bottom line about Mitt Romney’s “new” health care plan is that it reads exactly like his health care plan from the 2008 campaign, which looks very similar to the GOP House alternative offered in the midst of the 2009 health care reform legislative battle and Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) 2008 campaign plan. In other words — a rehash of traditional GOP prescriptions that deregulate the insurance market without providing adequate coverage to the sickest Americans or significantly reducing health care costs. Here are five things you should know about Romney’s plan:

1. Romney says he would empower states with greater flexibility by block-granting the Medicaid program, the federal/state initiative that provides coverage to senior citizens and poor Americans. But as a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report has pointed out, converting the existing matching rate formula into a block grant would give states less money that they would have otherwise received and force local governments to cut eligibility to the program. Kaiser examined different scenarios for state responses to reduced federal Medicaid spending and estimated 31 to 44 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage.
2. Romney would “reform the tax code to promote the individual ownership of health insurance” and “give individuals a choice between the current system and a tax deduction to buy insurance on their own.” He thinks this would create “the best of both worlds” by allowing certain individuals to leave their employer-sponsored health insurance plans and find coverage on the individual market. But this would only entice young healthy workers to buy cheaper but less substantive insurance in the individual insurance plan market place, increasing costs for sicker workers and forcing some to opt out entirely. Among those who would lose their health care are 56 million Americans with pre-existing chronic health conditions. The credits would also fail to cover the cost of comprehensive coverage.
3. Romney says that “individuals who are continuously covered for a specified period of time may not be denied access to insurance because of pre-existing conditions” — a good idea that’s made even better by the Affordable Care Act that he wants to repeal. He’s also advocating for allowing individuals “to purchase insurance across state lines, free from costly state benefit requirements.” This means that insurers would be able to circumvent consumer protections in certain states and sell bare-bone subprime policies to the healthiest (and most profitable) beneficiaries. Companies would have little incentive to do business in states that require coverage for such things as cancer screenings or have guaranteed issue protections and sell plans across the country that deny coverage altogether to high-cost cases. The Affordable Care Act includes a similar — but far better regulated — provision that allows states to form compacts in which they can establish their own regulations.
4. Romney wants to “reform medical liability” and have the federal government “provide innovation grants to states for reforms, such as alternative dispute resolution or health care courts.” The current health care law already includes similar demonstration projects, even if the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that malpractice reforms could at most save $54 billion over 10 years.

5. Finally, Romney proposes establishing Health Savings Accounts and eliminating “the minimum deductible requirement for HSAs.” This may help some healthy people but will do little to aid Americans with expensive chronic conditions who will quickly deplete their savings accounts.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Former Colin Powell Chief Outs G.W. Bush Saying

Former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on Wednesday night that President George W. Bush wasn’t interested in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. “I don’t think they really wanted to get bin Laden,” Wilkerson said.

One of the more staggering developments to emerge in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s elimination has been the attempt by many on the right to shoehorn George W. Bush into the narrative of how the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11 was successfully tracked down and ultimately killed. Soon after Obama’s announcement of Bin Laden’s death, House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) attempted to spin the accomplishment as a continuance of Bush’s “vigilance,” Sarah Palin thanked the former president without even mentioning Obama, the news shows on the Sunday following the event featured no less than five former Bush administration officials (versus only two from the Obama administration), and Bush himself reportedly declined an invitation to a commemorative ceremony at the World Trade Center because he reportedly felt like he did not receive enough credit for Bin Laden’s death.

But attributing Bin laden’s death to “vigilance” on Bush’s part is a stretch (to put it kindly) as an analysis and a timeline by ThinkProgress demonstrate. Bush’s missteps included not focusing on Bin Laden prior to 9/11, undermining the search for Bin Laden by abandoning the fight in Tora Bora, and above all, by shifting resources away from a focus on al Qaeda and into the massive folly that was the invasion of Iraq. Watch a ThinkProgress video documenting Bush’s failures:


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Florida Joins Wisconsin In Union Busting

Florida City Paying $2,500 A Day To Radical Union-Busting Firm To Stop Workers From Organizing:

All over the country, right-wing lawmakers are waging a war on Main Street America’s labor rights, purporting to do so out of a desire for fiscal restraint (while also backing budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthiest among us).

Now, the city of Winter Park, Florida, is going to new lengths to stop nearly 150 city workers from joining a union. Apparently more concerned with stopping the union than saving money, Winter Park hired consultants at Kulture LLC, “a firm specializing in labor relations” at the rate of $2,500 a day to persuade workers to vote against organizing this summer:

Winter Park is paying a consultant $2,500 a day to help the city’s staff dissuade about 150 city workers from joining a union. [...] Employees in the public works, parks, fleet maintenance and water departments are likely to vote in June or July on whether to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME. In the past few years, the city has done away with longevity bonuses and pay increases because of the economy. [...] Members of AFSCME have criticized the use of tax money to pay a group that they say has a politically right-leaning agenda.

A spokesman for the city told the Orlando Sentinel that it didn’t “do a political background check” on Kulture before hiring the firm and that the city just wants to inform workers about their options. Yet a cursory look at Kulture and the activities it conducts shows what the firm is all about: union-busting.

Kulture’s website is replete with right-wing ideology. It hosts op-eds claiming that sweatshops are an opportunity for the “third world poor” and bragging that the “labor movement is dead.” Its webpages direct users to far-right sources of information such as the Ayn Rand Institute and The Federalist Society. It also hosts the anti-union, which hosts anti-labor articles and a monthly “anti-union report.” The organization’s CEO, Peter A. List, has said that “unions are a by-product of a bad relationship.

“We’re basically hiring them to make sure that factual, accurate information is given to our employees before they make a vote on whether or not to join a union,” says Winter Park spokeswoman Clarissa Howard. But one has to wonder how hiring a radical, Ayn Rand-promoting anti-union organization will do anything but try to scare workers into submission.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Andrew Breitbarts Big Government Used "Distorted" Video In Latest Sting

University Of Missouri Concludes

Last month Andrew Breitbart made good on his promise to "go after the teachers," as his Big Government website published a series of misleadingly edited videos attacking the University of Missouri's labor studies program. Big Government's editors claimed the video showed two labor studies professors at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Kansas City teaching students that "fear, intimidation, and, even, industrial sabotage are important and, often, necessary tools."

But the claims Big Government writers made about those videos are simply not credible. And this isn't just our view; after reviewing all of the tapes, the chancellor and provost of the University of Missouri-St. Louis reached the same conclusion.

From an open letter published on St. Louis Activist Hub:

We have finally completed viewing the videos originating at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) from the UMSL course Introduction to Labor Studies. The excerpts that were made public showing the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) instructor Don Giljum and students as well as the UMKC instructor and students were definitely taken out of context, with their meaning highly distorted through splicing and editing from different times within a class period and across multiple class periods.

As stated previously, our campus supports academic freedom, civility, diversity, open discourse and the pursuit of knowledge. We support the academic freedom of faculty, staff and students at UMSL. Contrary to some reports, Don Giljum has not been fired from the campus faculty, and in fact, is completing the course; he remains eligible to teach at UMSL. We sincerely regret the distress to him and others that has been caused by the unauthorized copying, editing and distribution of the course videos.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CEO Bonuses Rose By Nearly 20%

As most American families continue to struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages, CEOs at the country’s 350 biggest companies saw their pay jump 11% last year to a median of $9.3 million, according to a study conducted for the Wall Street Journal. The survey looked at direct compensation — salary, bonuses, and long-term incentive awards — and did not include assets like stock options:

For the surveyed CEOs, the sharpest pay gains came via bonuses, which soared 19.7% as profits recovered, especially in some hard-hit industries. … Net income rose by a median of 17%; shareholders at those companies enjoyed a median return, including dividends, of 18%.

Corporate profits may be at sky-high levels, but they are not translating into shared prosperity for all. Median household income has fallen nearly 5% over the past decade and in 2010 was $50,221. The lack of wage growth has made it difficult for average Americans to keep up with rising prices on everything from gas to food.

This latest report is further evidence that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening, with economic inequality in the U.S. at its highest levels since the Great Depression.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Governor's Actions Weaken Virginia’s Classrooms

Gov. McDonnell’s public broadcasting cuts actually will strip funding from Virginia’s classrooms.


On Tuesday night, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that he was using his line-item veto power to cut $424,000 in funding state legislators had approved for public broadcasting. McDonnell wrote in his veto letter:
Such grants are not core services of government, and especially given the scarcity of resources during these difficult economic times, such grants ought to be eliminated. … I believe it to be an appropriate reduction given the discretionary nature of this funding and the realities which face us on the budgetary front. I am confident that the excellent work done by public television and radio will continue with generous contributions from the private sector.

The funding McDonnell eliminated with the veto doesn’t actually go towards developing television or radio programming. Rather, its for the Instructional Telecommunications Services contract with the public broadcasters, a program dedicated to developing and providing low-cost or free electronic educational materials for Virginia schools. When legislators agreed to an earlier round of public broadcasting cuts in February, they did so in exchange for an increase in educational broadcast funding. That’s the funding that McDonnell cut.

Bert Schmidt, the president of WHRO, a public broadcasting unit owned jointly by 18 school systems in the Hampton Roads area, told us that McDonnell’s strategy was in direct opposition to the governor’s own priorities on virtual learning. And Schmidt said the cuts could end up costing the state more money in the long run, if school systems have to turn to private education companies to develop high-quality programming as a replacement. Before the cuts, WHRO received $870,000 in state funding annually, and estimated that it saved those school districts $7.6 million each year by creating programming they share.

“We have 50,000 video elements that have been created to provide formal education,” he said. “We had a member of the Virginia House saying you can just do a Google search. If you’re teaching in a health class about breast cancer and you Google breast cancer, guess what you’re going to find…It’s insulting to teachers, it’s insulting to schools to think they’d allow teachers to do a Google search to meet students’ needs.”
And Schmidt says McDonnell’s framing of education cuts as an attack on public broadcasting is clearly aimed at the 2012 elections.

“We believe he will do the second phase, to completely defund us next year around the same time that some Republican candidate is going to be looking for a vice presidential candidate. He’ll be able to say he was able to quote, unquote, defund PBS, even though that’s not what’s happening,” Schmidt said. “He’s putting his political aspirations ahead of Virginia students.”

Way to go Bob, you get tool of the day award!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

George Bush Cries Fowl and Snubs POTUS Invite, Beacause…….

He’s peeved that he hasn’t gotten enough credit for the Bin Laden killing.

President Obama will visit the New York site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks today, but former President George W. Bush won’t be at his side. Originally, a Bush spokesperson said the former president declined Obama’s invite because “has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight,” though he “appreciated the invite.” This morning, however, the New York Daily News quoted sources saying that Bush won’t be at Ground Zero today because he feels Obama hasn’t given the Bush administration enough credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden:
“[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap,” a highly-placed source told the Daily News Wednesday. [...]

“He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it,” the source added.

“Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.”

Obama and Bush spoke briefly after Bin Laden’s death was confirmed, and Bush issued a statement shortly thereafter congratulating him. President Obama campaigned on a promise to capture and kill the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks and revived the search for Bin Laden after it had lapsed during the Bush presidency. That hasn’t kept conservatives from offering the former president praise while virtually ignoring Obama, nor has it prevented former Bush administration officials from taking to the press to claim credit for Bin Laden’s death.

A spokesperson for Bush said the former president has plans to visit Ground Zero in September to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.  

If George Bush wants credit where it’s due surely he should stand up and take full credit for the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

George Bush Getting Credit Where Its Not Due

ANALYSIS: Bush’s Lackluster Hunt For Bin Laden.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb
 Politico reports that supporters of George W. Bush are “irked” that the former president isn’t getting more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, despite the droves of conservatives lawmakers and pundits who have been rushing to give Bush equal credit as Obama.

But this praise for Bush relies on rewriting history to obscure the fact Obama re-prioritized the hunt for Bin Laden after Bush had largely abandoned the effort to focus on Iraq.

While many conservatives are triumphantly replaying Bush’s September 2001 declaration that he would find Bin Laden, just months later, by Bush’s own account, he was unconcerned about the terrorist mastermind. Asked about the hunt for Bin Laden at a March, 2002 press conference, Bush said, “I truly am not that concerned about him. I am deeply concerned about Iraq.” “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you,” Bush added.

By 2006, the trail for Bin Laden had gone “stone cold” and Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes said Bush told him that hunting Bin Laden was “not a top priority use of American resources.” (Indeed, there was a flailing war in Iraq to fight.)

That year, it was revealed that the administration had shuttered the CIA’s Bin Laden unit in late 2005. As the New York Times reported at the time, the move reflected a shift in resources to Iraq:
In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials. For instance, much of the military’s counterterrorism units, like the Army’s Delta Force, had been redirected from the hunt for Mr. bin Laden to the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed last month in Iraq.
But Bush’s biggest misstep in the Bin Laden hunt occurred years before, in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. As a 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report found, the Bush administration blew a critical opportunity to capture Bin Laden in 2001. Bin Laden was wounded and on the run, but top Bush national security officials rejected repeated pleas for reinforcements from commanders and intelligence officials fighting the terrorist leader in the caves of Tora Bora, despite the availability of resources:
Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan. The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines. Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias.
Even when his own commanders and senior intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Washington argued for dispatching more U.S. troops, [Commanding Gen. Tommy] Franks refused to deviate from the plan.
The report “removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora,” but that decisions made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputies, and other top administration officials allowed Bin Laden to escape.

The consequence of this missed ooportunity are tremendous. As Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, the director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, told NPR yesterday, “if bin Laden had been killed in Afghanistan eight years ago in the caves of Tora Bora, al-Qaida might well have died with him. Now the organization is diversified enough it could weather bin Laden’s death — and hardly miss a beat.”

Moreover, as Rumsfeld himself acknowledged, Bush’s extra-legal torture and rendition policies did not help capture Bin Laden. Enhanced interrogation techniques did not work. Bush ordered one final push to capture Bin laden shortly before he left office, but this effort too was unsuccessful.

UPDATE: Rumsfeld Flip-Flops: Now Says Harsh Interrogation Of Detainees Was ‘Critically Important’ In Bin Laden’s Death


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meet The Deathers

King Asshat Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Brietbart Website Pushing Conspiracy Theory That Osama Might Not Be Dead

When it comes to asshats there is none bigger than Andrew “Andie” Brietbart! Period!

Mere hours after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, supported by incontrovertible DNA evidence, the conspiracy theorists are hard at work. Andrew Breitbart, a prominent right-wing commentator with close ties to the Republican Party and the Tea Party, is pushing the theory on his website Big Peace.

On Breitbart’s website, J. Michael Waller, suggests Obama take a number of extraordinary steps so he can “make sure [Osama] is dead.” Pictures are apparently not enough. Walker asserts that he needs to be able to “walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it.” More:
The free world, particularly the United States, has a right to make sure Osama bin Laden is really dead. Every American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead. No shroud for dignity’s sake, please – bin Laden’s naked, bullet-riddled corpse should be put on display in lower Manhattan for all the world to see. The entire body should be digitally scanned, inside and out – and made available for everyone to take his or her own picture.
Walker ads that “For us Doubting Thomases out there – we need to see in order to believe.”

Brietbart isn’t alone. On Twitter, Emily Miller, a senior editor at the Washington Times demanded “proof” that Osama is dead.

With birtherism quickly losing steam after the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate, will the right-wing follow Brietbart’s lead?

NFTOS knows of one follower.......AKA Dana Loesch, as she has her head so far up Breitbarts posterior she is suffocating to death.


Monday, May 2, 2011


President Obama authorized the development of a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden’s compound in March, but later called it off because the raid would have likely inflicted many civilian causalities and destroyed Bin Laden’s body, thus eviscerating proof Obama needed to ensure the world he had killed the terrorist leader.

The body of Bin Laden will be handled “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition,” according to a White House official. In Islam, bodies must be buried within 24 hours, and U.S. officials confirmed that Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea. Handling the body according to custom is “something we take very seriously,” the official said.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney congratulated President Obama on Osama bin Laden’s death, calling it “a victory for the United States and a tremendous achievement.” President Bush joined Cheney in congratulating Obama and the U.S. forces, marking the moment as a “momentous achievement” that deserves “our everlasting gratitude.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reiterated calls for quicker pullout of American troops from Afghanistan, citing Osama bin Laden’s death near the Pakistani capital as proof that “the war on terror is not in Afghanistan.” Other Afghan politicians said “the Americans have achieved their goal” in bin Laden’s death and thus “have no reason to stay.”

The Taliban vowed terror attacks in revenge for the death of Bin Laden. “We will do it by carrying out attacks in Pakistan and America,” Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said. There was a bomb attack at a Pakistani mosque near the site of Bin Laden’s killing, although it was unclear whether the attack was committed in response to the killing of the terror leader.

Stocks and futures both gained upon the announcement of bin Laden’s death, while the dollar also snapped a nine-day slump and oil prices dropped to a two-week low. “This is a positive development in the campaign against terrorism,” said one market strategist. “In the last 10 years, bin Laden’s presence has been a serious threat to global stability.”

Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the nation’s Arab American capital of Dearborn, Michigan, celebrated upon hearing the news of Bin Laden’s death. “The world is definitely a better place without the patron of all terrorists,” said Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, the head of the city’s largest mosque.

Yesterday, Sohaib Athar, a 33-year-old computer programmer who lives in Abbottabad, Pakistan, became, in his own words, “the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.” Throughout the night, Athar (@ReallyVirtual) tweeted about the unusual events unfolding in his city with messages like, “Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter,” not realizing until much later what had occurred.

And finally: Revelers who descended on the plaza in front of the White House late last night to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden were joined by several celebrities, including Friends star David Arquette, several Capitan Americas, and Spider Man, who could be seen climbing the trees in front of the executive mansion.

Great job Seal Team 6!!! You have made your country proud!