Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Fun Day - HILLARY-OUS

Conservatives are far too willing and even eager to believe things which are factually false, silly, and usually mean-spirited.  It is sad, but it is also SO stupid that it is unintentionally funny.

The right wing fringe craziest thing I've heard this week -- the claim that Hillary Clinton is a Satanist, and protesters are now believing they are somehow striking terror in her because of some sort of exorcism protesting. 

A little context: versions of this have been around for a long time.   They appear to depend on an ephemeral link between Saul Alinsky, a prominent agnostic, dedicating a book to Lucifer -- in whom he did not believe as a reality, but as a symbol of rebellion.

Multiple authorities on his life and work describe him as having been brought up by devoutly religious orthodox Jews, and holding a sense of identity as Jewish as a result of experiencing rampant anti-semitism in his life, but as being personally agnostic (agnosticism - believing religious claims are unknown and unknowable).  Some people believe that anyone who is not an active believer is an atheist, but that is not correct; there are differences between agnosticism and atheism.

By whatever words, Saul Alinsky was not a believer in an actual Satan, and not a worshipper of any such entity.  However since prominent conservative William F. Buckley claimed in a Playboy interview back in 1972 that Alinsky was "very close to being an organizational genius", he's become the boogeyman of the right about whom many factually inaccurate and hysterical things are claimed -- and then used to attempt to tar others with a too-broad brush.

Back in 2011 this sums it up from Patheos:


…is an urban legend.
Just for the sake of clarity, Alinsky was not a “quasi-satanist”. He was an old school Comsymp lefty rabble rouser. His dedication of Rules for Radicals to Lucifer was as much “satanism” as eating devil’s food cake is a blasphemous sacrament offered to the prince of darkness. He was an atheist who liked sticking it to the man and who naturally sided with rebels in any fight. Lucifer is the biggest rebel of them all, so he offered a tongue in cheek encomium to Old Scratch. The urban legend that he was a serious devil worshipper is pure pseudoknowledge.
To conclude from that Alinsky was a Satanist is foolish on the face of it; to conclude that Hillary Clinton is an Satanist because she wrote a college paper critical of Alinsky is just bonkers.  And yet this appears to be disseminated from a variety of sources which conservatives trust to be reliable and authoritative.  And it appears to be consistent that conservatives do not themselves ever fact check reliably, or bother to think logically and clearly; instead they succumb to the worst excesses of propagnda.

From Yahoo!
Is Hilary Clinton a satanist?
My Pastor tells me that this is so
This iteration, some of this is from the silly Youtube video about a secret term paper (secret here translates as 'not actually secret' and not leaked); and for the record, Hillary Clinton has been a Methodist for ages.

The ridiculous right, the fringies, are very serious while the rest of us laugh at them.  Especially the religious right has serious problems with a form of delusional thinking that appears to operate as mental illness and wild superstition.

Here is one of the latest going around now for a while:

Then there was this really funny comment on Right Wing News from some yobbo who thinks he scared Hillary Clinton into running away and hiding, like scaring off a vampire by waving a cross at them or relying on garlic.

Christopher John Rozell
July 29 at 11:07pm

CJR- She ran in that building because my sign exposing her Satanic ways scared her half to death! They even put my quote in there and my name Christopher John Rozell! Heck yeah, talk about making a stand and a difference! That's how you be a True patriot and defend this great nation of the United States of America We The People!
Here is what the coverage of the crazies actually wrote, and it certainly was not an endorsement of  this nutjob as clear, cogent political discourse or discussion:
One group of protesters arrived before 4:30 p.m. with signs — one saying “Hillary Clinton is Satanic / I have Proof!” and “GOD Bless AMERICA.”
“I used to be a Hillary Clinton supporter until I researched and educated myself on her,” Christopher John Rozell of Painted Post said.
What is the big fuss about? NOTHING.  Here is the real deal about the supposedly secret paper Hillary Clinton wrote back in college, demonstrating knee-jerking that would qualify as an audition for the Rockettes:
In fact, however, the thesis had been unlocked after the Clintons left the White House in 2001 and is available for reading at the Wellesley College archives. In 2005, investigative reporter Bill Dedman sent his journalism class from Boston University to read the thesis and write articles about it; one of the students, Rick Heller, posted his article online in December 2005.  The thesis is also available through inter-library loan on microfilm, a method reporter Dorian Davis used when he obtained it in January 2007, and sent it to Noonan and to Clinton critic Amanda Carpenter at Human Events, who wrote a piece on it in March. Although publishing the thesis violates copyright,  it can nevertheless be found on various websites.
The suppression of the thesis from 1993 to 2001 at the request of the Clinton White House was documented in March 2007 by reporter Dedman, who read the thesis at the Wellesley library and interviewed Rodham's thesis adviser. Dedman found that the thesis did not disclose Rodham's own views much. A Boston Globe assessment found the thesis nuanced, and said that "While [Rodham] defends Alinsky, she is also dispassionate, disappointed, and amused by his divisive methods and dogmatic ideology."  Rodham's former professor and thesis adviser Alan Schechter told that "There Is Only The Fight . . ." was a good thesis, and that its suppression by the Clinton White House "was a stupid political decision, obviously, at the time."
Was it a stupid decision?  Or just setting up the crazies for a little ridicule?  I'm inclined to think it was more the latter than the former.

Of course, other right wing nut crazies claim Hillary Clinton is an illuminati witch, the anti-Christ, or possibly a man.

Again from Yahoo!'s special corner for crazy people:

Is Hillary Clinton A Man?

I have heard rumors that Hillary Clinton is actually a man, and that his/her tv's, Cokie Roberts. Is this true?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gun Free Zones.......are NOT the problem; GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM

If more guns made us more safe, we would not have the gun violence problem as a nation that is unique to us, in contrast to other advanced nations.

Conservatives have it wrong, and conservative candidates are afraid of their idiot, ignorant base voters. Conservatives are afraid of the NRA and other "gun-hugger" groups funded by the gun and ammmo manufacturers. When you realize how many ridiculous things the right and especially the right wing candidates FEAR, wrongly, no wonder they cling to their firearms with insane desperation.

But they are wrong.  And the facts are NOT on their side, nor is reason.

From End Gun Violence on FB:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Right Wing Religious Propagandists Slime the Boy Scouts of America
Shame shame shame on the Minnesota Family Council

Ban pedophiles, not gays.  Gays are not automatically pedophiles or sex predators.  Conservatives know, or should reasonably be expected to know this, but prefer to hate "the gays"/LGBT community anyway, while ignoring the very real predatory pedophilia of heterosexuals.

The crazy, dishonest, and ignorant radical religious right do this by engaging in blatant homophobic propaganda; propaganda, as a working definition, is a combination of animus and factually false claims that target a group with the intention to manipulate the emotions of the gullible.

The Minnesota Family Council is big on using scare tactics and pushing narratives that are false.  They seek ways to legalize and to try to justify hateful and discriminatory actions to victimize against anyone who does not conform to their extremist agenda.  And like so many conservatives do, they try to assert they are victims, when they are nothing of the kind.  Any group with so little regard for the truth is no supporter of either truth, or anything or anyone other than hate and bigotry.

Minnesota Family Council falsely claims they are "strengthening the family and advancing truth.  All gay kids and adults have families; those families are not 'strengthened' by discrimination and hateful propaganda.  Minnesota Family Council has routinely shared supposed news items that were factually false, without ever bothering to do the most minimal fact checking before promoting them.

NO ONE is forcing any church in the United States to alter their ugly religious views or teachings. There is no valid threat to churches from the Boy Scouts or any other advancement of the LGBT community towards dignity and equality.

The Boy Scouts HAVE had a problem with HETEROSEXUAL pedophile predators in the past, so it is not as if their prior policy was serving them well.  Rather the assumption that heterosexual men were consistently safe with boys was a fallacy that should have been obvious based on the organization's own pervert files. Just as one law suit was settled in Minnesota, another one was filed against them for the same thing, one of five such law suits in the past two months, with four others currently open.  According to the STrib, the attorney who filed the most recent suit has spoken with other men who claimed to have been similarly victimized, so the numbers of pedophile victim suits may go higher.

At the time of the alleged abuse, Opalinski was a leader for the St. Paul-based Boy Scout Troop 12 and was also an Explorer advisor for Troop 2012.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court; it’s the fifth such lawsuit to be filed in Minnesota in the past two months and the fourth to name Opalinski as the alleged abuser, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

The Northern Star Council is facing at least nine lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by former leaders or volunteers, MPR News reports. They were allowed under the Minnesota Child Victims Act – the same state law that has led to the spate of legal action against the local Catholic Church.
Contrary to the common mis-perception among conservatives, the target of pedophiles is often one of accessibility rather than sexual orientation.  We consistently see conservatives demonstrating extreme, willful ignorance on a wide range of issues relating to sex, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation, and reproduction.  This is just one more.

Before moving on, let us point out that the Boy Scouts of America have had their share of problems with clearly heterosexual only leaders and child sexual abuse.

As noted at the Psychology Dept. site of UC Davis web site, information which has been around since 1997, nearly 20 years ago, and makes reference to the right wing hate activist Anita Bryant, and the Boy Scout controversy of long standing, and how those attempt to victimize and stigmatize those who are same-sex oriented:
Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation
Members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority's most vulnerable members. For example, Jews in the Middle Ages were accused of murdering Christian babies in ritual sacrifices. Black men in the United States were often lynched after being falsely accused of raping White women.

In a similar fashion, gay people have often been portrayed as a threat to children. Back in 1977, when Anita Bryant campaigned successfully to repeal a Dade County (FL) ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination, she named her organization "Save Our Children," and warned that "a particularly deviant-minded [gay] teacher could sexually molest children" (Bryant, 1977, p. 114). [Bibliographic references are on a different web page]

In recent years, antigay activists have routinely asserted that gay people are child molesters. This argument was often made in debates about the Boy Scouts of America's policy to exclude gay scouts and scoutmasters.

The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.

As an expert panel of researchers convened by the National Academy of Sciences noted in a 1993 report: "The distinction between homosexual and heterosexual child molesters relies on the premise that male molesters of male victims are homosexual in orientation. Most molesters of boys do not report sexual interest in adult men, however" (National Research Council, 1993, p. 143, citation omitted).

The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or children of both sexes.

The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.

Period. Full stop. The End. 

After 20 years (some of the research goes back another 20 years earlier than that) it is no longer an accidental ignorance but instead deliberate and willful ignorance to promote hate against gays by characterizing them as predatory pedophiles.

The latest attempt to promote their propaganda lies intended to generate animus came in a mass email.
Boy Scouts putting churches at risk?

The following press release from our friends at Trail Life USA outlines increased legal risk to churches and religious organizations that continue to sponsor Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troops. BSA is offering assurances that their new policy changes, including allowing openly homosexual men to serve as BSA troop leaders, pose no risk to church and religious sponsors. But the facts and the new legal landscape in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision say otherwise, as explained below.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Not. One. More.

Pissing Match, with Bullets

image from
Our problem with gun violence is that the people who defend unfettered access to, and carrying around, guns in this country, across the spectrum of society, far too often seem to believe that it is acceptable, EVEN DESIRABLE, to shoot people who, in their minds, scare them in some way or otherwise don't adequately conform to how they think someone else should behave.

Far too RARELY are these shootings genuinely and unavoidably life threatening when the escalation to lethal force occurs. The very essence of the problem, however much some of the gun huggers deny it, is the desire to escalate violence and force because they WANT TO DO SO, their very identity, including sometimes their gender identity as masculine, manly men, depends on it.

Just having a gun with you, on you, or in your hands, messes with your perception and increases your paranoia and sense of threats, which in turn fuels the escalation, in addition to the other factors fueling escalation - like conservative authoritarianism.

From a 2012 Notre Dame University study, via ZDNet, demonstrating that having or holding a gun makes you see bad things that aren't there:
Study: Carrying a gun can make you more paranoid
...the researchers subjected volunteers to a series of five experiments in which they were shown multiple images of people on a computer screen and determined whether the person was holding a gun or a neutral object such as a soda can or cell phone. Subjects did this while holding either a toy gun or a neutral object such as a foam ball.

The researchers varied the situation in each experiment — such as having the people in the images sometimes wear ski masks, changing the race of the person in the image or changing the reaction subjects were to have when they judged the person in the image to hold a gun. Regardless of the situation, the study showed that responding with a gun created a bias in which observers reported a gun being present more often than they did responding with a ball. Thus, by virtue of affording the subject the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot.

The researchers showed that the ability to act is a key factor in the effects by showing that while simply letting observers see a nearby gun didn't influence their behavior, holding and using the gun did.
The science tells us that those who carry guns around, legally or otherwise, get into more conflicts and confrontations. From the most recent study on gun ownership and aggression by Jeffery Swanson by way of the Huff Po:
Study: People Who Own a Lot of Guns Are More Likely to Get in Fights, Carry Guns Outside the Home
The new study compares rates of impulsive, angry behavior with access to guns. Swanson and his research colleagues asked 5,653 respondents to answer questions about their own behavior, and also asked these same research subjects if they owned and/or carried guns. The subjects lived in cities, suburbs and rural areas throughout the United States, and roughly one-third stated that they owned or had access to firearms, which seems to be what we consider the national firearm ownership rate to be today.

Every respondent was asked whether they had tantrums or angry outbursts; broke something in anger; lost their temper and got involved in physical fights. These are classic indicators of impulsive, angry behavior, with the tantrums/outbursts being the least serious, the fights being the most serious and the breaking of some object in between. Both the owners and non-owners of guns reported engaging in all three types of behaviors, with tantrums being three times as common as physical fights for both groups, and the percentage of gun owners and non-gun owners engaging in any of the three anger indicators being about the same.

What struck me as I read the survey results was that overall, there was not a great difference between gun owners and non-gun owners regarding to what degree they admitted engaging in any form of impulsive, angry behavior. Where the difference was clearly pronounced was among the 5 percent (roughly 290 people out of 5,600) who admitted to owning 11 guns or more, which was the only gun-owning group whose penchant for getting into fights was significantly higher than people who owned no guns at all. For that matter the percentage of the 11+ gun-owning group to get into physical altercations was substantially higher than gun folks who owned fewer guns.

Where the number of guns owned by individuals seemed to be a real risk issue can be found in the correlation between number of guns owned, engaging in any of the three anger indicators and carrying a gun outside the home. The good news in this survey was that less than 5 percent of the respondents reported that they walked around with a gun. The not-so-good news is that folks who owned six or more guns and carried a concealed weapon reported that they engaged in at least one of the three impulsive behaviors four times more frequently than persons who owned five or fewer guns.
This is the first study I have seen that finds a correlation between numbers of guns owned and a propensity to carry one of them around. As such, it undercuts the usual pro-CCW argument that people carry guns to defend themselves against crime. ...
Here's another observation: aggressive, combative, ANGRY PEOPLE, WITHOUT GUNS, DID NOT SHOOT, or THREATEN TO SHOOT OTHER PEOPLE, whatever else they did.

We have a failed gun culture, fueled in large part by right wing glorification of vigilantism, glorifying people taking the law into their own hands rather than leaving law conflicts and disputes to the courts and law enforcement. Criminal activity emulates and mirrors that thinking and authoritarian social structure of coercion and conformity.

We saw that failure of gun culture in action this past week, in the shooting in a Lafayette, Louisiana theater and in a case of Florida road rage that escalated and ended in an unarmed man being shot in the back three times, in front of his wife, child and grandchild, and then held them hostage at gun point. The shooter was the kind of gun owner the NRA and other pro-gun groups tell us is safe and law abiding; he had a concealed carry permit. This was emphatically an avoidable shooting;the shooter could have turned the conflict over to law enforcement. The shooter instead drove PAST a police station, and like George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin, ignored the directives of the 911 operator about engaging in further escalation of the conflict.

In the same week as the mass shooting in Louisiana, there were five other mass killings that did not receive extensive media coverage. Only one of them involved stabbings; the others were all shootings.

Individually or as a group, the right embraces as a part of their ideology taking the law into their own hands, as noted in this article from the Examiner looks at this as not only a modern phenomenon, but as an historic one to present:
Armed and dangerous: Right wing vigilantism in American history
...Contrary to the popular phrase, an armed society is not always a polite society. American history is full of examples of the perils of allowing armed citizens to take the law into their own hands. Vigilantism has an ugly history in this country. The fact that the loudest advocates today for arming the populace come from those on the political far right, should give us pause for concern. The tradition of vigilantism in this nation is a history of upholding xenophobia, racism and white privilege by lethal force. From lynch mobs to riots to extrajudicial executions, that history undermines the logic for unqualified support for the second amendment.
It extends not only to matters of personal conflict, but to issues of imaginary personal honor and insult, and to political disagreements. An example of the latter would be the numerous failed revolutions of right wing crazies that believe they are going to rise up and overthrow the government for imaginary wrongs, particularly the lunatic militia movements. When they are angry, the gun nuts, the right wingers, want to empower themselves with lethal force when they are unable to get their way through persuasion.

This right to coerce and compel anyone who violates a right wing norm is a core facet or characteristic of Right Wing Authoritarianism.
Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don't adhere to them. They value uniformity and are in favor of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it.

One of the components of Right Wing Authoritarianism is aggression:
Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.

Combine that with poor cognitive abilities associated with RWA, and you have a recipe for disaster when you arm them with lethal force:

According to research by Altemeyer, right-wing authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold contradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. They are also more likely to uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs, and they are less likely to acknowledge their own limitations
Sadly, too often the gun huggers embrace vigilantism over the authority of law enforcement. We see that thinking expressed by the Louisiana movie theater shooter, who targeted liberals, mostly women, watching the Amy Schumer movie. We saw it in January of 2014, with the fatal shooting of a man by a retired police captain, for texting briefly to his young daughter during the previews of a movie theater in Florida. The victim of the shooting didn't do what the gun carrier wanted him to do as quickly as he wanted him to do it. We see it in the recent road rage shooting in Florida, where a concealed carry permit holder shot an unarmed man in the back as he was trying to leave, and threatened three other people. We see it in the higher rates of gun violence in states with more guns and with more lax gun control. Gun violence is endemic to gun possession without sufficient regulation and restriction.

Time to end our gun culture, before it puts an end to any more innocent or mostly innocent people. Our gun culture is an epic failure, a destructive and dangerous social force, that looms large -- as large as the GOP elephant in the room. Time for the guns AND the GOP which enables and facilitates the gun violence as part of their political exploitation of the worst elements on the right, to GO.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Update on the Louisiana Theater shooting

This may turn out to be another instance of right wing domestic terrorism.  The shooter was a toxic teabagger.

From WHNT 19 news:
He has a profile created by the website Tea Party Nation. And on, he left hundreds of messages espousing anti-government, anti-media views.
Houser was denied a concealed carry permit in 2006 after an arrest involving arson, and he was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009, Russell County, Alabama, Sheriff Heath Taylor told CNN. And Taylor said his office served him an eviction notice in March 2014.
And in contrast to the assertion by the NRA that a good guy with a private gun will stop a tragedy like this, no one did, other than the efforts of law enforcement.  The good guy scenario is really more of a right wing nut fantasy than cogent reality thinking.  The shooter stopped himself by committing suicide when he realized the LEO response was so prompt.

Rather in this case, as the preliminary reports are emerging, it was another couple of heroic teachers who made a difference, one injured woman pulling the fire alarm as the shooter stopped to reload.  But of course this being Louisiana where there is a continuing right wing war on education, a GoFundMe account has been started to help these two heroic teachers with their medical bills, because apparently if you are injured, heroically or otherwise, you can't afford care as a normal benefit when you are a teacher.

The Governor will call you a hero, and put out a lot of hot air lip service, but he will stop well short of paying you or supporting a professional education curriculum.

Here is the info about the Go Fund Me account, via myhighplains, should you wish to show your appreciation towards these two heroic teacher in a more tangible way than grandstanding governor Jindal.

The Iberia Association of Educators and the Louisiana Association of Educators have created a Go Fund Me account for the two teachers that were shot at the Grand Theater shooting.
The organizations want to raise money to help them defray the cost of their medical bills that they will be left with after this tragedy.
Governor Bobby praised the heroic actions of two Iberia Parish teachers Jena Meaux and Ali Martin for risking their lives to save others.
The money raised will be split between these two brave women to help with any and all medical bills they will be left with.
To donate, click here:

Right Wing Flag Propganda 8: Old Glory at half mast, and Chattanooga, Washington D.C., and New Jersey

The Flag is a symbol of the entire country, but as the WaPo, and Snopes all noted, the right wing nuts tried - again - to use it as a mechanism for propaganda (a manipulative form of lying to exploit an agenda) and division. Manipulative dishonesty about respect for the flag, from how the flag is flown, to the pledge of allegiance, is a persistent tactic on the right.

Conservatives are angry all the time because they believe ugly things which are factually false, and because they do so by choice, when verifying the facts can be easily done in our modern age of information.  The right, especially the extreme right, prefers a pretext to hate others, especially a pretext to malign the president specifically, or anyone they consider "other"/liberals/lefties generally. 

By keeping the right wingers upset over FAKE issues, the right is able to distract and misdirect their adherents away from arriving at any consensus on valid facts and issues, and from finding any common ground with the rest of the nation, either independent or on the left.  Informed people focus on entirely different topics.

What they do is equally deliberate ignorance and blind adherence to a toxic ideology; it is a targeted form of hatred.  It is evil, and has no valid place in a nation of representative government.

In this instance, after the shooting in Chattanooga, there was an outcry that Obama did not direct those federal flags under his authority to be flown at half-mast.  This was a hijacking of a tragedy for intentional, calculated dishonest right wing exploitation.  THAT is horribly disrespectful of those five members of our armed forces who died tragically. It was not ONLY the usual suspects from the right wing nut propaganda machine, but a rather extensive laundry list of right wing politicians, notably presidential candidates, those who currently or in the past held office, and Trump, jumping on the hate bandwagon.

There is no set time period before or during which this is done, and Obama was within the norm for doing so this past Tuesday.  Typically what is considered the duration of the flags at half-mast is the significant factor for the degree of honor or respect shown. The flags in front of Congress, under the control and direction of the current Republican leadership, followed the same schedule to fly at half-mast, without any criticism or acknowledgement of the right, applying a hypocritical double standard for determining patriotism.

Here is the latest image of flag propaganda, in a very real sense flag 'porn' to the extent that rabid conservatives appear to experience an orgasmic catharsis over each new opportunity to foam at the mouth.  The FACTS are that Obama NEVER ordered flags flown at half-mast for Whitney Houston (there is something a bit racist in some of the images used in this propaganda) THAT was ordered by Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, because Houston was born in New Jersey.

As noted by the fact-checking site,,

You’ve probably seen outraged social media posts and headlines about the White House flag lately, most of which go something like this: President Barack Obama ordered the White House flag to fly at half-staff to mourn Whitney Houston’s death, but failed to do so for the five soldiers slain in Chattanooga, Tenn.

This perceived breach of flag etiquette sparked a flurry of memes on the Internet and jabs on the campaign trail, particularly among conservatives and GOP presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donald Trump. Fox News columnist Todd Starnes suggested the race of the victims was a factor in Obama not lowering the flag.

After the July 16 shooting, governors such as Rick Scott of Florida and Bill Haslam of Tennessee ordered flags at half-staff, joining local officials who took matters into their own hands absent White House action.

Easton, Pa., Mayor Sal Panto Jr. drove to the city center at a resident’s request on July 18 and lowered the American flag himself. Panto, a Democrat, told local media: "I'm fully aware I don't have the authority to do this, but I feel I just had to remind the president." In Madison, Fla., the county sheriff ordered the station’s flag at half-staff July 20. A Facebook post from the sheriff’s office explained, "The Sheriff advised that our President may not honor the fallen Marines with the Capitol’s flags, but we will."

This perceived breach of flag etiquette sparked a flurry of memes on the Internet and jabs on the campaign trail, particularly among conservatives and GOP presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donald Trump. Fox News columnist Todd Starnes suggested the race of the victims was a factor in Obama not lowering the flag.

Even Red Sox legend Curt Schilling tweeted out a curve ball, though he insisted it wasn’t directed at the White House: "Flags at half mast for Whitney Houston? 4 Marines and 1 Navy serviceman assassinated by a terrorist on our soil.....nothing?"

The message eventually reached Washington. Republican leaders of Congress lowered the flag atop the U.S. Capitol on July 21. Obama followed suit hours later, ordering the White House flag to fly at half-staff until sunset on July 25.

As early as 2013, various memes have compared Obama’s respect for Houston to his inadequate mourning of Navy SEAL and the inspiration for American Sniper Chris Kyle, child star Shirley Temple Black, and the first general officer killed in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene.

While Chris Kyle death was very sad, it was largely his own damn fault, not heroic, not death in the line of duty like the soldiers in Chattanooga.

Politifact went on to note:
Obama didn’t even issue a direct statement about Whitney Houston’s death, as he famously did for Robin Williams. He did, however, offer his condolences to Houston’s family through his press secretary.
So, clearly this is NOT a new propaganda tactic on the right.  In addition to the excerpt below, Politifact detailed some of the other occasions when President Obama DID order the flag flown at half mast.  See the Politifact entry for the specifics, for closer comparison and contrast.  President Obama's decisions to do so have been consistent with traditional flag directives and with the rules of flag etiquette.
Since 2009, Obama has ordered the flag at half-staff a number of times (there’s no official count, but unofficial compilations do exist). Just as it was under previous presidents, the flag is lowered every year on Memorial Day, the Dec. 7 anniversary of Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and holidays honoring fallen firefighters and police officers.
He’s also given the order for remembering Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy and commemorating the deaths of Nelson Mandela, former Speaker of the House Thomas Foley, former Sens. Daniel Inouye and Arlen Specter, Neil Armstrong, the last World War I veteran, and civil rights leader Dorothy Height.
Obama has also ordered the White House and all other American flags on government property flown at half-staff for some mass murders in the United States.
We all need to be pushing back against propaganda and manipulation, and deliberate lies -- and willful ignorance, hate and stupidity from the right.

More Gun Violence, Another Shooting of Multiple Victims

As we are in the sentencing phase of the trial of the Movie Theater shooting 3 years ago this week, we have another shooting in a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Louisiana is a notoriously lax gun law state.  The shooter fits the classic gun hugger profile -- old, white, flabby and crabby.  And dead.

It would be premature to address the latest senseless shooting as we continue to receive details.  So instead it is appropriate to play the Fiore animation from earlier this month, so prophetic, but for once not fun or funny.

Friday Fun Day

The perfect Latino response, humor,  to Donald Trump and right wing anti-Latino bigotry, the Trump pinata.  Pinatas are typically filled with candy; it would be more fitting if this kind of pinata was filled with nuts.  The likenesses are amazing, and apparently these are extremely popular.  Las Angeles and other locations with large Latino populations have been producing these pinatas in quantity.

Bloom County creator Berke Breathed is back after 25 years, with his own crack at the living cartoon that is Trump, both in the cartoon strip, and below.  Karma for the unfounded harassment of President Obama by birther Trump.

From If you Only News:
OPEN LETTER TO FUTURE PRESIDENT TRUMP: We and America call upon you to produce lab evidence proving NO shared DNA between your head fur and your family Lhasa Apso, Goldy Tinkles. If such documentation is thus provided, the Really Loaded Friends of Bloom County will deliver a check for $2 million dollars to your known favorite charity. We wouldn’t joke about this.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Bignorance": Seattle Does NOT Give Preference to or Force Compliance with Sharia Law

I am appalled at the ignorance of the right that combines with deep, passionate hatred - bignorance is my new term for it, big, bigoted ignorance.  Behold the shameful tragedy that are the conservatives among us.

What Seattle is doing is entirely about fairness and creating opportunities -- both for residents and for local business.  Minneapolis has had a similar plan since 2006, which has helped expand home ownership, and as a result also expanded the tax base.  No ill side effects have resulted from it. What they are trying to do in Seattle similarly is to accommodate a form of lending that is not unique to Sharia law or to Muslim culture, but has been common to the major religions of the world, and many of the majorly influential cultures of the globe. 

It reflects not ONLY an ignorance about Islam or other groups or faiths, but a profoundly willful ignorance of world history generally and comparative religions, but ignorance of Christian European history specifically.  It is appalling racism combined with the worst hypocrisy to condemn in others the exact same conduct and beliefs in your own culture, history and traditions. 

From wikipedia:
Historically, some cultures (e.g., Christianity in much of Medieval Europe, and Islam in many parts of the world today) have regarded charging any interest for loans as sinful.
Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the term is riba in Arabic and ribbit in Hebrew). At times, many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, the Christian church in medieval Europe banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).
The pivotal change in the English-speaking world seems to have come with lawful rights to charge interest on lent money, particularly the 1545 Act, "An Act Against Usurie" (37 H. viii 9) of King Henry VIII of England.
Islamophobic intolerance is strong on the right.  Every possible opportunity is grabbed to pile more hate on decent, U.S. law abiding Muslims, in an attempt to turn the USA into a theocracy with the crazies in charge. 

I've quoted from the excellent debunker of myths and lies, Snopes, below -- but their entry goes on much longer than what I have excerpted.  I encourage people to read the Snopes entry in its entirety.

From Snopes:

FACT CHECK: Is the city of Seattle forcing local businesses to comply with Sharia law?

Claim:   The mayor of Seattle has “launched” a new “rule” forcing businesses to comply with Sharia law.

   MOSTLY FALSE WHAT’S TRUE:   Seattle is exploring options to make home loans accessible to Muslims who are unable to participate in standard mortgage programs due to religious proscriptions.
WHAT’S FALSE:   Seattle businesses are being forced to comply with tenets of sharia law.

Examples:    [Collected via Twitter, July 2015]
Warner Todd Huston @warnerthuston
Seattle Mayor Planning to Force Banks to Give Sharia Compliant Homes Loans to Local Muslims 

Seattle's Liberal Mayor Caves To Muslims Following Sharia Law - BuzzPo 
Photo published for Seattle's Liberal Mayor Caves To Muslims Following Sharia Law - BuzzPo

Bunch @bunch1243
Mayor, no Sharia law applies in America!! Stop this unconstitutional junk. 

Origins: On 17 July 2015, the unreliable web site Conservative Tribune published an article titled “ALERT: Seattle Mayor Launches Rules to Force Local Businesses to Comply With SHARIAH LAW” claiming that:
In one major American city, new rules may force banks to comply with Shariah law on lending and interest.
One of the major tenets of Shariah law is that Muslims cannot pay interest on loans. In countries with large Muslim populations, there’s something known as Islamic banking, which manages to get around this through various machinations.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to see that change, and he’s apparently willing to force banks into Shariah-compliant lending if necessary.
This means that, if it passes, Seattle will be the first city in America to mandate that its banks allow access to Shariah-compliant financing.
That claim was sourced to the site’s article “Seattle Mayor Offers Plan for ‘Sharia-Compliant’ Housing Rules,” which offered the following visual:

That article was a word-for-word copy of a Puget Sound Business Journal article about a potential plan by the mayor of Seattle to help Muslims obtain home loans to buy houses. Quoting both Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Seattle-area Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, the article explained that the city was examining housing options available to home-buying Muslims who are prohibited from participating in the traditional American housing market due to religious restrictions that prohibit them from obtaining standard home loans (despite their having desirable credit profiles).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Right Wing Hatred of Muslims Is Hypocritical Bigotry

ban Islam bigotry symbol
Conservatives are the quintessential hatriots, ignorant bigots, and most of all, HYPOCRITES, and never more so than when they have an opportunity for religious intolerance at the same time they are protesting non-existent intrusions on their own religious freedom.

Since the deplorable shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the swell of hate on the right towards not just those extremists who oppose western society, both sacred and secular, but also demonstrate a level of ignorance mixed into that hatred, fueled by propaganda intended to keep them scared and angry.

Just relying on the comments in social media against Muslims is horrifying - including against Americans who are Muslim.  Statements like "they should all be rounded up and either killed or at least kicked out of America".  Statements like "every Muslim should be bombed out of existence" and that we should nuke every country with a significant Muslim population (sub-thread, send every Muslim to those countries before we blow them off the map).  Statements like every Muslim wants to kill us, and no Muslim can be trusted anywhere ever, and that no Muslim can be an American.  I think I was most offended by the conspiracy theorists who not only rejected even the possibility that Muslims could be peaceful, or tolerant of other religions, but who made up ugly, crazy conspiracy theories to explain the charitable effort to collect money to fund burned black churches in the south.

In particular the prophet Mohammed comes in for disparagement.  He is described as a pedophile and a violent mass murderer himself, and particularly condemned for his position on killing non-believers and for engaging in polygamy and sex slavery, way back in 570 - 632 CE.  He is also blamed of course for modern terrorist martyrdom.

There is only one problem with this criticism from predominantly Christian Right wingnuts of predominantly European ethnicity --- it is hypocritical, criticizing historical figures on the basis of religion, while NOT criticizing European ethnic Christians for exactly the same conduct, either modern or historic. 

The history of Christianity in Europe is rife with all of those same things -- polygamy was approved and solemnized for a long time by the Christian Church.  Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor ( a position that essentially established him as the top Number 1 Christian of his day, sanctified by the Pope, hence the 'Holy' in Holy Roman Emperor) had an estimated 18 wives (some may have been concubines, an official legal status similar to marriage, but a step lower in terms of rights and privileges).  Christianity was spread at the point of the sword, convert or die, as in the massacres of Verden, where Charlemagne, later the first Holy Roman Emperor, ordered Pagan Saxons to convert or die, some 4,500 of them.

Now let us move on to the claims of pedophilia and child marriage.  Pedophilia is sexual arousal by children; it does not appear correctly to apply to Muhammad who did in engage in one instance of child marriage and other instances of adult polygyny.  Muhammad lived between 570 and 632; within Judaism and Christianity in that period, polygamy still occurred as did child marriage. 

Child marriage not only occurred in that earlier period of the middle ages, but later -- and it extended into the early colonies that became the United States.  A few examples:

Gratian, the influential founder of Canon law in the twelfth century, accepted the traditional age of puberty for marriage (between 12 and 14) but he also said consent was "meaningful" if the children were older than seven. Some authorities said consent could take place earlier. It was this policy which was carried over into English common law. Similarly Gratian's ideas about age became part of European civil law.

Judges honored marriages based on mutual consent at age younger than 7, and there are recorded marriages of 2 and 3 year olds. The 17th-century lawyer Henry Swinburne distinguished between the marriages of those under seven and those between seven and puberty. He wrote that those under seven who had said their vows had to ratify it afterwards by giving kisses and embraces, by lying together, by exchanging gifts or tokens, or by calling each other husband or wife. A contemporary, Philip Stubbes, wrote that in sixteenth-century East Anglia, infants still in swaddling clothes were married. The most influential legal text of the seventeenth century in England, that of Sir Edward Coke, made it clear that the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband's estate was 9 even though her husband be only 4 years old.

...the children of Henry II "had been married in babyhood," and the Council of Westminster (1175) conceded that these could be valid marriages "pro bono pacis" (for the sake of peace), even although it also said that "where there is no consent of both parties there is no marriage, and so those who give girls to boys in their cradles achieve nothing" [Brooke, p. 140]. 

(Except when they did receive financial benefit, which is pretty well documented as occurring often. - DG)

 Let's move on to colonial America:
The American colonies followed the English. For example in Virginia in 1689, Mary Hathaway was only 9 when she was married to William Williams.

In England for example in the parish of Middlesex County, Virginia, there is a record of 14-year-old Sarah Halfhide marrying 21-year-old Richard Perrot. Of the 98 girls on the 10-year register, three probably married at age 8, one at 12, one at 13, and two at 14.

But let's look to the post-American Revolution in the US, when it was arguably predominantly a nation of Christians making these laws, consistent with canon law:
In the United States, as late as the 1880s most States set the minimum age at 10–12, (in Delaware it was 7 in 1895).
Now we would call that legalized, predominantly-Christian-approved traditional child marriage.

So we've covered killing the unbelievers / conversion by the sword (of which there are many more examples in Christian history) and we've demonstrated the prevalent, institutionalized evil of child marriage, let's move on to Christian polygamy.

Early Christian Church:
Joyce, George (1933). Christian Marriage: An Historical and Doctrinal Study. Sheed and Ward. p. 560.
"When the Christian Church came into being, polygamy was still practiced by the Jews. It is true that we find no references to it in the New Testament; and from this some have inferred that it must have fallen into disuse, and that at the time of our Lord the Jewish people had become monogamous. But the conclusion appears to be unwarranted. Josephus in two places speaks of polygamy as a recognized institution: and Justin Martyr makes it a matter of reproach to Trypho that the Jewish teachers permitted a man to have several wives. Indeed when in 212 A.D. the lex Antoniana de civitate gave the rights of Roman Citizenship to great numbers of Jews, it was found necessary to tolerate polygamy among them, even though it was against Roman law for a citizen to have more than one wife. In 285 A.D. a constitution of Diocletian and Maximian interdicted polygamy to all subjects of the empire without exception. But with the Jews, at least, the enactment failed of its effect; and in 393 A.D. a special law was issued by Theodosius to compel the Jews to relinquish this national custom. Even so they were not induced to conform.
Moving a bit later:
Matilda Joslyn Gage Women, Church and State. Ch VII.
Socrates of Constantinople wrote in the 5th century that the Roman Emperor Valentinian I took two wives and authorized his subjects to take two wives, supporting that Christians were then practicing plural marriage.
Spanning the centuries to after the period of the historic figure Muhammad, during which polygamy (technically polygyny) continued in Christian Europe; Charlemagne live a little more than a century after Muhammed.
Charlemagne had at least twenty children over the course of his life time with three wives and five concubines. He had five wives but no offspring with his second and his last.
Let us move later in the history of polygamy in Christianity, the Reformation:
The founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther wrote: "I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter." [Luther later changed his mind somewhat on this issue - DG]
Lutheran theologians approved of Philip of Hesse's polygamous marriages to Christine of Saxony and Margarethe von der Saale for this purpose, as well as initial disapproval of divorce and adultery. As well as Phillip, there was much experimentation with marital duration within early German Lutheranism amongst clergy and their erstwhile wives.

The theologian Philipp Melanchthon likewise counseled that Henry VIII need not risk schism by dissolving his union with the established churches to grant himself divorces in order to replace his barren wives, but reluctantly, and with remorse afterward, consented that polygamy was an allowable alternative.

Anabaptist leader Bernhard Rothmann initially opposed the idea of plural marriage. However, he later wrote a theological defense of plural marriage, and took 9 wives himself, saying "God has restored the true practice of holy matrimony amongst us.

The Lutheran pastor Johann Lyser strongly defended plural marriage in a work entitled "Polygamia Triumphatrix".
And more recently:

The Anglican church made a decision at the 1988 Lambeth Conference to admit those who were polygamists at the time they converted to Christianity, subject to certain restrictions
And for those who claim that good Christian Americans don't engage in acts of terrorist martyrdom against Muslims, we have this from just two months ago, from the HuffPo and the Daily Beast:

Christian Minister Robert Doggart Reportedly Caught Plotting An Attack On American Muslims In Islamberg

Have you heard about the Christian terrorist Robert Doggart, who was plotting a violent attack against a Muslim-American community in New York state? Probably not, because as opposed to when U.S. law-enforcement officials arrest a Muslim for planning a violent assault, they didn’t send out a press release or hold a press conference publicizing Doggart’s arrest.
So let me tell you about Doggart and his deadly plan to use guns and even a machete to attack American Muslims in upstate New York. Doggart, a 63-year-old Tennessee resident, is an ordained Christian minister in the Christian National Church. In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress as an independent, espousing far right-wing views.
But don’t dismiss Doggart as some crazed wingnut howling at the moon. He served in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, worked for 40 years in the electrical generation business, has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from La Salle University, and claimed he had nine “committed” men working with him to carry out this attack.
Doggart came to the FBI’s attention via postings on social media and a confidential informant. Why attack these Muslims? Doggart’s own words highlight his motive being grounded in at least partially in his view of Christianity: “Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” Doggart continued, “We shall be Warriors who inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”
Doggart, who was also recorded via wiretaps speaking to militia members in Texas and South Carolina, didn’t mince words about his plans for the Muslims of Islamberg: “We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings [Referring to their mosque and school.] ...and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way... we will take them down.”

He also detailed the weapons he would use in the attack, including an M-4 military assault rifle, armor-piercing ammunition, explosives, pistols, and a machete, because “If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”
Doggart expressed a hope that he would survive the terror attack, but explained, “I understand that if it’s necessary to die [in this attack] then that’s a good way to die.”
Sounds a lot like a Christian version of Daesh (ISIS). I believe I make my point: conservatives are the quintessential hatriots, ignorant bigots, but most of all, HYPOCRITES who apply a higher double standard to other people than they do to themselves and people they perceive to be like themselves.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Donald Trump Takes Communion?

Wonkette reported on Donald Trump trying to impress the bigots and puritans in Iowa this week with his Jeeeeeeezus sincerity.

And as the Wonkette noted in their satiric and humorously sarcastic way, it is common for the Presbyterians to serve grape juice rather than wine during communion, giving rise to some skepticism as to his level of religious participation.
Trump said that while he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion.
“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said. “I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.'”
Spoken like a truly God-fearing church-attending man of faith, one who definitely knows that Presbyterians drink grape juice, not real wine, in communion. Munching on his little cracker, aka the body of Christ, is Trump’s own special way of getting right with God, not that he needs to, because when has Trump ever done anything wrong?

I have to wonder not at a possible gaffe about wine versus grape juice, but at Trump's additional confusion over crackers and communion wafers.  I hope I might be excused for wondering if Trump was noshing on these, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers instead, reminiscent of the Christian fish symbol.

Just DO YOUR DAMN JOB -- like this guy

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Fun-day - Trump Your Cat

Funniest thing I've seen so far in the 2016 election cycle.

From instagram:


Donald Purrump

1.Brush your cat 2.Form the hair you brushed into a toupee 3.Place toupee on cat 4.Share & tag @trumpyourcat, DM, or #trumpyourcat >^.~.^<

and they have a presence on face book as well

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Balanced budget, sort of; Unbalanced priorities definitely: Walker crosses a line

From US Uncut on Facebook:

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts:
If President Barack Obama has his way, the nation’s taxpayers would not help finance a new arena proposed for the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team.

Nor would taxpayer-financed, tax-free bonds be used to help finance a new stadium being discussed in St. Louis for the NFL Rams, or in Oakland for a new complex aimed at keeping the area’s professional football, baseball and basketball franchises from leaving town.

An obscure item in the president’s new budget would put an end to the longstanding practice of states and cities using tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports arenas, a practice that costs the U.S. Treasury $146 million, according to a 2012 Bloomberg analysis.
Dennis Zimmerman, an economist who worked for the Congressional Budget Office and is now director of projects for the American Tax Policy Institute, is a longtime critic of the financing. He said the president is right in proposing to eliminate the subsidies that benefit often wealthy professional team owners.

“I’m glad he put it in the budget,” Zimmerman said. “Tax-exempt bonds are supposed to be for state and local infrastructure” and not private business.

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker in January proposed funding a $470 million arena for the Bucks with the help of $220 million in state bonds as part of his budget plan.
Walker said that without a new arena, the Bucks would “likely leave Wisconsin in 2017, costing the state nearly $10 million per year in income tax collections alone.”
The proposal is drawing criticism from conservatives such as the Wisconsin chapter of the free-market group Americans for Prosperity. State director David Fladeboe said the group is “disappointed that the (governor’s) budget still plans to use public funds on the Milwaukee arena.”

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s spokeswoman, said that until Congress acts, the governor is undeterred.
Yup, the corruption has to be pretty bad before even fellow conservatives working for another arguably competing Walker donor / politician "buyer" objects.

This is what public corruption looks like (imho).

Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe that there would be no quid pro quo, direct or indirect, between the owners and the newly minted candidate for president, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker? See the Penigma piece on Walker  below.

Good for President Obama that he is at least attempting to block this kind of extortion by rich sports team owners of the public and public officials.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Right Wing Rebranding Failure: Republican Math - the numbers never add up, the numbers are NEVER good

Conservative governance, conservative policies are epic failures.  They rely on blind, unquestioning, cultish ideology, without regard to actual outcomes, bottom lines or facts.  They deny reality, in the hopes that saying something is true will be enough to make it true.

Yesterday, one of these failed conservative governors, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, promoted his failed leadership of Wisconsin as success, something it is very definitely NOT.   Let's look at a few of the many ways in which Wisconsin is NOT thriving under Scott Walker or conservative policies.  Walker is running for the GOP presidential nomination on the basis of his success in Wisconsin.  And God; because conservatives like to invoke God when they lie, to give them legitimacy.  Or maybe the Koch brothers. Like Michele Bachmann, and other candidates, he hears voices in his head and believes that it is God and not his own over-arching personal ambition.

Infrastructure is one of the most fundamental and essential functions of state government.  Infrastructure along with the educational level of your workforce, are the two most important drivers of state-level economic development and growth.  Walker's administration and the conservative dominated Wisconsin legislature, in their efforts to govern on the cheap, so as to give every possible financial advantage to the wealthiest 1%,  is the 3rd worst nation for the condition and safety of their roads and bridges.

A press release from Wisconsin Congressman Pocan from July 10, 2015:
71% of the state’s roads are in need of repair

Washington, D.C - U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) released a troubling Department of Transportation report detailing the urgent need to improve infrastructure in Wisconsin. A staggering 71 percent of the state’s roads are rated as being in poor or mediocre condition. This puts Wisconsin in the bottom three states for road conditions in the country. With Governor Scott Walker set to sign a budget which further reduces state investment in transportation projects, now is the time to take immediate action to ensure the current patch of Highway Trust Fund does not expire on July 31st.
“Building roads and bridges are core functions of our government,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Once again, Gov. Walker has failed to provide critical investment to programs that matter most to the people of Wisconsin.”
“Republicans in both Washington and Wisconsin are jeopardizing public safety and economic growth by failing to provide adequate funds for transportation needs,” continued Rep. Mark Pocan.
The driving force of every capitalist economy is a large, healthy middle class; demand and consumption drives our economy, including economic growth.  Under conservatives led by Gov.  Scott Walker, Wisconsin's middle class is not thriving, it is shrinking, the worst of any state in the country, and a significant result of the war on Unions and everyday ordinary citizens, by Walker and conservatives.  THIS is one of the reasons Wisconsin is one of the worst state level economies in the nation.  Depending on which statistics you look at, Wisconsin is 38th or 44th in job creation, and the worst in the region for job and employment statistics. This represents policies which intentionally redistribute wealth and income upwards to the wealthiest and privileged few, in action.

From the Madison Capitol Times in March 2015:
Report: Wisconsin worst in nation on shrinking middle class
If you feel like you’re working harder for less money, it’s not your imagination.

Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, with real median household incomes here falling 14.7 percent since 2000, according to a new report.
The Pew Charitable Trust report showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the percentage of families considered "middle class," or those earning between 67 and 200 percent of their state’s median income.
In 2000, 54.6 percent of Wisconsin families fell into the middle class category but that has fallen to 48.9 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census figures compiled by Pew.
All other states showed some decline but none as great as Wisconsin’s 5.7 percent figure.
If you are consistently among the worst -- and Wisconsin is among the worst by MULTIPLE metrics -- you are not a success as a governor, you are not a success as an example of conservative ideology in action.  You are a failure lying to people, misrepresenting yourself as a success.

For contrast, the Hill announced yesterday that under the Obama administration, the national deficit is down $455 Billion-with-a-b.  This is an example of a genuinely successful democratic leader, applying successful outcome based policy rather than ideology driven and schismatic policy to correct the problems created by the last Republicans when they had control at the federal level.  The contrast is profound in terms of fiscal responsibility, job creation, and steady IMPROVEMENT in economic conditions and metrics.
White House projects deficit to fall to $455B for 2015
The federal deficit is estimated to tick down to $455 billion by the end of the fiscal year in September, according to the Office of Management and Budget’s mid-session review released Tuesday.
As a share of the economy, the shortfall would equal 2.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
“Under the President’s leadership, the deficit has been cut by more than two-thirds as a share of the economy, representing the most rapid sustained deficit reduction since WorldWar II, and it continues to fall,” OMB Director Shaun Donovan wrote in a blog post.
The new projected deficit would be nearly $30 billion less than the government’s red ink in 2014 and $128 billion less than administration’s 2015 deficit prediction back in February.
OMB’s mid-session review updates the administration’s estimates for spending, revenue and the deficit over a 10-year period.

Even with the most trivial matters, Republicans are wrong, and Republicans LIE about the factual numbers, misrepresenting their success. A recent example is the clown prince of the Republican candidates, Donald Trump, the same man who paid people to show up at his announcement as a candidate while proclaiming a huge turn out of people who loved him and were excited he was running. The turnout was not large, and it was not apparently of people who in fact were actual supporters. Continuing the exaggerations (no numbers on who might have been paid to show up) in Arizona, Trump proclaimed he was drawing larger crowds than the legitimate grass roots support for lefty Bernie Sanders. The reality is that Senator Sanders has drawn crowds of 15,000 people while Trump only filled a venue that holds less than 5,000. There were no 15,000 Trump supporters; there were not even 5,000 Trump supporters.

From abc 15:

Phoenix Fire says capacity rules not broken after Trump tweets officials broke fire code

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that city officials "don't want to admit that they broke the fire code by allowing 12-15,000 people in the 4,000 code room" on Saturday.

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
Convention Center officials in Phoenix don't want to admit that they broke the fire code by allowing 12-15,000 people in 4,000 code room.
8:18 AM - 12 Jul 2015    614 Retweets

He followed the statement by another tweet stating that the convention center allowed everyone to come inside so they wouldn't be left outside in the heat.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  
Phoenix Convention Center officials did not want to have thousands of people standing outside in the heat, so they let them in. A GREAT day!

Phoenix Fire Department says City of Phoenix Fire Prevention Specialists set the capacity for the room at 4,200 people.

The fire department reportedly closed the doors once they reached capacity.
"No rules or codes were broken and no one was in danger at any time," Deputy Chief Shelly Jamison says.
According to Phoenix Fire, a Fire Prevention Specialist is an expert on large events and are assigned to specifically enforce large-capacity events such as Comicon, Super Bowl Fan Fest, rallies and other.