This post is by our guest contributor Dee. a freelance writer and passionate political junkie, living in the Central Plains with her husband and three furry puppies. She is a prolific tweeter as @DAbitty, and occasional blogger at MyLittleBits
You may not know who he is, but Paul Ryan sure does. Ryan has so much respect for him; he used information gleaned from his writings to demonize large segments of American society during a recent radio interview. With the fallout from that interview ongoing, I decided to dig a bit into the thinking of unknown to me, Charles Murray. A man responsible for helping shape some of Ryan’s bizarre opinions, and some of our public policies.
Seemingly, in favor of dismantling every ounce of progress made over the past 40 plus years, Charles Murray plows forward with opinions so far out of the mainstream, it would seem a near impossibility that any self-respecting politician would ever seek his council, and yet…
So, who is Mr. Charles Murray? Murray is a man of 71years, born and raised in working class, very white, Newton, Iowa. Educated by the Ivy League, he is an author, and DC Think Tanker. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers his ideology as that of “White Nationalist.” SPLC says “using racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics,” Murray argues that social inequality is caused by genetic inferiority. (I tend to agree with SPLC.)
Best known for his authorship of The Bell Curve, and Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010, as well as his contribution to numerous conservative publications, Murray is a Senior Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Using his own brand of social science Murray’s writings are more eugenics than actual social studies, at least the social studies I remember. He believes the disadvantaged are so because, on average, they are unable to compete with white men, who are in all ways superior.
Murray is a proponent of eliminating what he terms the “welfare state”, including affirmative action, and the Department of Education – as well as other more progressive policies. He argues that innate deficiencies are the cause for unequal social and educational outcomes, and those cannot be overcome by public policy, aka Government.
“You want to have a job training program for welfare mothers? You think that’s going to cure the welfare problem? Well, when you construct that job training program and try to decide what jobs they might qualify for, you had better keep in mind that the mean IQ of welfare mothers is somewhere in the 80s, which means that you have certain limitations in what you're going to accomplish.” —Interview on race and IQ, “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg,” PBS, 1994
It seems his views are in part responsible for the welfare restructuring done during the Clinton Administration. After a decade of advocating against welfare for single mothers, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, ending traditional welfare programs. Of Murray Clinton said, “He did the country a great service. I mean, he and I often disagree, but I think his analysis is essentially right. … There is no question that it would work,” referring to policies he (Murray) viewed as incentivizing out of wedlock births.
In a 2012 New York Times (NYT) article Jennifer Schuessler quotes President Obama from a 1994 NPR commentary saying, Murray and his co-author have calculated that “white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism as long as it’s artfully packaged.” How prophetic that seems, here in 2014.
This is just the tip of Charlie’s very large iceberg… for fear of losing you I will provide links to more information, and leave you with this tidbit from Murray himself:
“Try to imagine a presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet, this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.” —“Deeper Into the Brain,” National Review, 2000
Charles Murray is wrong-headed in so many ways, the fact that a presidential candidate could not say, “in front of the cameras” what Paul Ryan just said, “in front of the cameras” is proof of the influence Murray is having upon public policy, aka Government.
Paul Ryan photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
It does make you wonder why the Republicans are so anti-gay as a party. Oh, that's not to say everyone in the Republican party is homophobic -- but we can argue that their most vocal spokespeople certainly are. And on the state level, it's even more acute than nationally.
One reason might be that the conservative wing of the once Grand Old Party (now the WHOMP - White Homophobic Old Men's Party), is being led by the nuts (take that any way you wish) by the Tea Baggers. And they fear anyone or anything that doesn't look old, white, Anglo-Saxon Christian. Anyone else -- Jew, Muslim, immigrant, minority -- is a threat to them. And their rule book is the bible. More appropriately, their interpretation of its teachings. When it suits them, they quote it. When it doesn't, they interpret it.
The anti-gay movement within the Right-wingnut conservatives bible-thumpers isn't really new, Yahoo News:
Then there are the influential conservative “Christian” groups who have long demonized gays, such as Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association (AFA) who said the “homosexual agenda” is “the greatest immediate threat to every freedom and right that is enshrined in the First Amendment.” Even the Republican Party’s 2012 platform made it seem like the end of days were approaching with their description of gay marriage as “an assault on the foundations of our society.”
So, if Fisher and his AFA group are to be believed, the LGBT community is out to get us. They're the enemy. They're going to enlist us to join (I wonder if they have glossy membership cards) or if we're not willing to convert, to enslave us. By that I guess they mean to turn us into concubines and rape us and our children -- not to mention our pets.)
AFA’s former general manager, Dr. Buster Wilson, explained the “homosexual agenda” in this light: “Simple ‘equality’ is not the goal of the gay activists. They want total domination in some cases…not just ‘accept them’ but to bow to them and their wants.“
Who can argue with that reasoning? Us straight folks face a real threat of enslavement and domination. Oooh. Whips. Yup, that's the gay S&M scene. We should all thank visionaries like Fisher and Wilson. They have seen the light. Pull out all the stops to make sure the gays don't even find equal protections under the law or else.
Comedian Sabrina Jalees, revealed a bit of the homosexual agenda: “You should see what we've got planned once we get our equal rights. We're gonna go ahead and keep living. Almost exactly the same way heterosexuals do, just with better clothes.”
So now we know what's behind the Conservative hatred core. But my favorite comment about the LGBT haters out there is this comment from comedian, Jim David. He put it succinctly: “People who aren't having any good sex are seriously threatened by those who are.”
Anyone else out there who thinks it's time to stop this Conservative right-wing hatred?
Well, Rand Paul is at it again. After being caught plagiarizing passages from other people's work and passing them off as his own in speeches late last year, the junior Kentucky senator evidently hasn't learned his lesson. In making his un-heartfelt semi-apology after being confronted, he promised to correct this "oversight." via Talking Points Memo:
Paul was hammered by critics last year after news outlets uncovered a string of his speeches and op-eds that seemed to lift material from Wikipedia and other sources. He has since vowed to better vet his material and offer footnotes.
Okay, it happens. But Rand Paul should know better. Anyone who publishes or makes public speeches knows how easy it is to simply acknowledge the source of their materials, just like I did above with linking to Talking Points Memo for the passage above.
This latest theft of intellectual material stems from a class action law suit he's filed against President Obama regarding the NSA.
It's not just a large law suit, it is the largest class action suit ever filed.
Now its not to be unexpected that there would be some similarly worded "boiler plate" and references to the broken laws in the filing. But that's not the case here. It's more than that. Paul and his attorney, former Virginia Attorney General Ken "the Cooch" Cuccinelli allegedly stole or lifted entire passages from the work of another attorney, Bruce Fein, who recently served as an attorney for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's father.
From the Washington Post's Dana Milbank:
But a Jan. 15 draft of the complaint written by Fein has long passages that are nearly identical to those in the complaint Cuccinelli filed Wednesday. Except for some cuts and minor wording changes, they are clearly the same documents.
Now the Cooch and Rand Paul's defense is not that they stole from Bruce Fein but that he did this work, (evidently quid pro quo) for some future consideration. Of course acknowledging this would have saved them a lot of embarrassment, but that's never been an issue for either Paul or the Cooch. The two shysters just slough this claim off by saying, again via TPM:
Doug Stafford, the executive director of Paul's political action committee RandPac, told Bloomberg Businessweek that “allegations that Bruce Fein was not paid are false, he was paid. Additionally, Bruce was one of several attorneys involved in this lawsuit.”
I know you were waiting for that three-letter word... But, it seems this is all news to Bruce Fein. He claims this is not true. He was never "hired" by them nor was he compensated.
Fein's ex-wife and spokeswoman, Mattie Fein, told Milbank that Cuccinelli stole "the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein" without payment.
If you ask me, if anyone would know whether or not payment was made, it would be Fein's ex-wife and spokesperson. Who better than his ex-wife, knows and cares extensively whether or not her ex got paid? Future alimony payments could be affected.
So I'm going to leave it with you to sort this one out. Who do you believe, confessed plagiarist Senator Paul along with his extremist attorney the Cooch, or lawyer Bruce Fein and his ex-wife/spokesperson, Mattie Fein? It does make you ponder what's next from Senator Paul. A new Constitution that he'll take credit for that still has the faint signature of Thomas Jefferson on it? I hope Paul doesn't tire too soon from all the "heavy lifting" he's been doing during the campaign. He's fun to watch when caught -- he squirms and sweats profusely.
Ever get the feeling you were being eaten by your own?
Is the Tea Party really part of the Republican party or are they a third party? That's the question that leads to this story on the internecine battle going on right now in what's currently called the GOP ranks. But as you read more, you may come to the same conclusion that many share now -- the GOP and the Tea Party are two different organizations, kind of like conjoined twins - relying on each other for their complete existence.
Sadly, like with Eng and Chang Bunker, they were two very different people who couldn't co-exist without one another. They shared vital organs, one's blood fed through the other. Neither could survive alone, therefore they spent 63 years connected -- and when one died, the other quickly followed.
Is this the fate of the GOP? There's a certain movement afoot to separate the two groups. There were separate responses to the State of the Union. They have separate caucuses in Congress. They have separate agendas, and even separate fundraising. Yet they loosely still are bridled under the one banner of the Republican Party.
Here's where the malfunction is being felt the most. Forget "all politics is local." All politics is MONEY. Period.
Via Talking Points Memo:
As part of their efforts to avoid the unforced errors that have cost them in the last two elections, Republicans have been playing "hardball" with would-be donors to a leading tea party group.
FreedomWorks chief Matt Kibbe told the New York Times in a story published Monday that leading Republican lawmakers have done their part to block donations to his group.
This is beginning to sound like those species who eat their young. Where the Tea Party and the GOP share a number of commonalities, they also are facing some mutual obstacles -- mainly the Independent voters who are flocking to the Democrats. These are largely women, the poor, immigrants, and minorities.
So you'd think that if you were one party, you'd work together, sharing the chores and the funding. As two parties, they can't exist beyond another election without self-inflicted major injuries. One will not walk away from the next showdown. And when you cut the power to the GOP and exile the Tea Party members, you've got two weak and ineffective groups. When Eng died, Chang followed minutes later. Does anyone else smell the faint wafting of the Whig or the Bull Moose Parties?
FreedomWorks is backing a number of conservative candidates trying to unseat GOP incumbents such as Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
And while the effort has drawn the ire of Republican leadership, Kibbe doesn't mind his insurgent role. In October, he suggested that there's a "real possibility" that the GOP splits into two factions.
So FreedomWorks, the fundraising mechanism for the Tea Party is starting to get shut out from the mainstream Republican donors. No money means no influence, which then means no politics. All they can do now is take what funds they can scrape together to try to usurp the larger, more mainstream GOP. But this Tea Party cancer is taking it's toll, eating away from within. Will the Tea Party cancer turn out to be malignant? Some say it already has. Just ask Speaker John Boehner.
The bigger question is whether or not this creeping disease is going to be fatal. Right now the attending physicians aren't giving great odds for survival. I hear Boehner and Cantor are meeting later today with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. The Speaker has requested a priest be present, in case last rites need to be administered. Does that give you a "tale of the tape?"
It takes a big (wo)man, not necessarily a good (wo)man, to admit he/she's made a mistake. John McCain this weekend proved he's that (wo)man. He's admitted what we've all known for years -- he means well, but is prone to exaggeration gaffs.
So in the spirit of fairness, I'm willing to say John simply got caught up in the moment, took some time to reflect on his own actions of the past and decided Obama's handshake with Raul Castro wasn't the disgraceful act of "appeasement" on par with the Neville Chamberlain/Adolph Hitler handshake. Time to get past that.
With that settled, I think it's about time that the US Government reconsider it's policy of sending McCain and usually his personal valet Senator Lindsay Graham on official "fact finding" trips to political 'hot spots' on behalf of this country. This hawk and his sidekick have never found a place where they didn't feel the US should make it a flashpoint for war.
They were early and multiply times visitors to Iraq where we escalated our efforts there -- remember the "surge" of troops?
They visited Syria and voted against Obama's using peaceful means to negotiate the chemical weapons disarmament.
McCain made a number of official visits to Israel where each time the middle east country announced increased anxiety over Iran which lead to threats of a possible unilateral Israeli strike on their warring neighbor. McCain went so far as to refer to then current Iranian leader this way according to NBC news:
McCain made a joke comparing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey.
The Arizona senator even more recently has been vocal on pushing new sanctions against Iran which would most certainly derail the peaceful efforts to negotiate a shutting down of the nuclear weapons development program in Iran despite pleas by Secretary of State John Kerry to allow unfettered negotiations to take place.
Now today we find McCain (without his Graham valet) once again off to a foreign land as an official envoy, this time in the rioting Ukraine.
In all these these cases, the McCain visits have turned out, by his actions once he returned, to be the opposite of our best interests. How many times must this old warhorse be sent to gather intel and report back? It's not as if his efforts have netted us any qualitative or even quantitative findings. He may be a good guy, and his military background -- at least in years spent as a prisoner of war -- is laudable. But like the accountant today who forgoes contemporary computer technology to prepare your taxes, he's slow, prone to human error and basically just out of it. He's got his old ways and refuses to change with the times. Rather than input data in a computer and have it instantly analyzed and metadata mined for multiple uses, he's still got the pencil, a paper spreadsheet (with coffee stains) and a hand-pull adding machine at his side.
We'll all be served when he finally signals his retirement. He doesn't need to be put out to pasture just yet, but he certainly doesn't need to be our eyes and ears on the ground surveying our next possible moves in volatile locations. He could help us best by passing on his knowledge in improving the standards of living and assistance to soldiers returning from service as well as issues affecting our growing aging population.
Internation diplomacy needs a bit more than just having served for a long time or a Senator singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."
It takes someone who thinks before he speaks. What it needs is diplomacy, not mockery. And lately, Senator McCain has proven he's doting with emotional lust for one final battle, not one grand peace. Let's stop putting our worst foot forward. Let's start putting our best.
Here's the thinking of Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical Christian leader and shallow religious zealot, according to TPM:
Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.
It's catchy. On the surface it almost seems to make a point that could be an eye-opener -- unless you happen to take the time to analyze this analogy.
"In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don't have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it's not in your faith."
He doesn't seem to get his own point, but being gentile, I don't expect him to get the nuances of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Hell, I'm a Jew and don't know half the rules. But the issue here that Rick W is missing is that nobody is making you eat the pork, or stopping you from eating it. It's personal choice.
With healthcare, nobody's forcing you to use every provision in your policy. Abortion and contraception are provided to those who, to borrow from your own analogy, don't "keep Kosher/sell pork products."
If you're a large employer and must, by law offer health insurance. That's not a choice you get to make. Also, you have to let your employees make their own "religious" choice. Refusing would be considered imposing religious beliefs on another, an apparent violation of the first amendment to the bill of rights.
Of course that's what the Supreme Court will determine in June. Picking and choosing is when it becomes imposing company beliefs on it's employees. It should not be a company mandate unless that company specifically caters only to those of a particular religious affiliation. Public companies are not religious by definition. They cater to all.
Rick Warren's problem is really this: Health insurance is not really an ala carte business. Generally you can't say I just want to buy insurance to be covered for broken bones and Meningitis. Nothing else. No other diseases or injuries. No gall bladder, kidney, liver, cancer stuff. Just the broker bone and Meningitis coverage. How much will that be?
It's not done that way. Generally in a health policy all medical issues are now covered except for death. (That's what life insurance is for.) The options are the deductibles and percentage of coverage.
But what the Republicans and more specifically the Christian evangelicals are fighting for is to turn health insurance into a strictly ala carte business. And according to them, if you're an employer who must provide healthcare insurance for your workers, you should be able to pick and chose what's covered and what's not.
They don't mind paying for your appendicitis or your treatment for migraines. They just don't want to contribute to total health care if it involves something they don't approve of -- in this case, contraception and abortion. They prefer to treat these matters after the fact, after there's an unwanted newborn, or perhaps the mother dies during the pregnancy or delivery. Caring for unwanted children or funerals for mothers with foreseeable complications is the acceptable way to go.
To create a pick-and-chose healthcare menu would make certain coverages too costly and other services not at all within a consumer's reach. So all medical issues get bundled together to bring down the price for the total coverage. Splitting out certain care issues would destroy the pricing model. And that seems to be the goal of the Republican obstructionists. They can't beat the law, so they'll work any angle to make sure it doesn't function.
Back to the the Kosher Deli analogy: In his equation, the Deli are employers. Pork is abortion/contraceptives. He says you shouldn't make the Deli provide insurance it finds contrary to their religion or doctrines. And I agree. But insurance isn't pork. It's not against anyone's religion -- except perhaps Christian Science who don't subscribe to using doctors at all.
What may be contrary to one's religious beliefs is but one part of the picture of healthcare insurance. And nobody's making you "eat the pork." Insurance policies serve a larger population than just one religious belief. So if you don't want pork (abortion) don't order it at the Pink Pig Baconarium for lunch. But don't stop others who love their bacon cheeseburger or their link sausages from eating there. That's taking away their choice.
When you make that decision, Pastor Warren, you're not letting others make theirs. You're taking away my rights. So don't eat or sell pork if you don't want to, but don't stop those from getting access to it if they have such a desire.
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