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The Supreme Court implicitly reaffirmed the right of government to regulate firearms. Thank goodness!

The Supreme Court implicitly reaffirmed the right of government to regulate firearms. Thank goodness!

The latest term of the United States Supreme Court delivered a mixed bag of decisions that, on the whole, should please conservatives even if appearances may be to the contrary. For example, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) won a temporary reprieve but only because of the typically sloppy way the Trump administration went about trying to end it. They will undoubtedly try again.

And whilst a Louisiana law that imposed a needless requirement for doctors at abortion clinics in the state to have admitting privileges at hospitals was set aside, this was primarily on the grounds that it was virtually identical to a Texas law that had been struck down just four years ago. Chief Justice Roberts only joined the more liberal justices because he felt bound by precedent but not before opening the door to future abortion restrictions, challenges to, which suggested, may be viewed more skeptically.

Finally, the very welcome news that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does prohibit LGBTQ employment discrimination may be undermined by the court’s fulsome embrace of religious rights that may override those of the LGBTQ community in where the two clash in the future.

However, somewhat overlooked this term was the court’s decision not to hear challenges by the gun rights crowd to a plethora of state and local firearms restrictions much to the chagrin it has to be said of its most conservative members. This is very good news indeed since it appears to reaffirm the majority’s view in a SCOTUS dominated by conservatives that the misguided decision in District of Columbia v Heller upholding the individual right to own a firearm nevertheless does not preclude reasonable regulation of that right by the government. The key here is clearly the Chief Justice and I can think of three reasons why he has sided with the liberals/moderates on this issue.

First, Roberts is no doubt mindful of Heller’s assertion that the decision did not mean that the regulation of gun rights was foreclosed. Casting doubt on that element of Heller would serve to undermine the entire decision and make it appear as a meaningless, not to mention dishonest, gesture to those concerned about gun violence. Second, to go further than Heller itself and eviscerate the ability of federal, state and local governments to regulate firearms would simply invite a future more moderate court (and, yes, that day will come) to revisit Heller as a whole, thus undoing one of the Roberts’ court’s landmark decisions. By refusing to go to the extreme, Roberts may protect Heller and his legacy.

Finally, whilst his most conservative brethren are likely driven by ideology to the exclusion of common sense, I doubt that Roberts wishes his legacy to add substantially to the carnage of gun violence in a nation already plagued with far more than any other advanced society.

Whatever his reasons Roberts in this case has done an enormous service to the country by ameliorating the otherwise pernicious effects of Heller.

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. He died on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87. Visit a cartoon rendition of his office and read a short biography here.

Dr. Seuss was best known as the author and illustrator of many children’s books including The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. But he had another career as a political cartoonist for a liberal New York City daily paper, PM during World War II. He drew more than 400 editorial cartoons for the paper from April 1941 through January 1943. He was highly critical of isolationists like Lindbergh; he also loathed racists, and he didn’t really care much at all for Congress, especially the Republicans and some conservative Democrats who organized the Conservative Coalition with the purpose of dismantling Roosevelt’s New Deal. Here’s one Seuss did for the May 18, 1942 edition of the paper. (via brainpickings.org)

Suess Congressional Wrecking Crew 5-18-42 crop reduce

Seventy-three years have gone by, and Conservatives are still trying to destroy America’s social safety net. All it would take to update this cartoon would be to replace “F.D.R.” with “Obama”.

Some things never change. Probably never will.

The economic boom in Texas is no vindication of conservative governance.

The economic boom in Texas is no vindication of conservative governance.

In a recent blog piece in The New York Times, Nobel-prize winning economist and liberal columnist Paul Krugman recounted an effort by Stephen Moore, a conservative economist with the Heritage Foundation, to demonstrate that tax slashing (Red) states have outperformed high tax (Blue) states in job and overall economic growth. It transpired that Moore had evidently been piqued by a column Krugman had written earlier about Kansas GOP Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax-cutting binge which has left the state with a huge deficit while doing next to nothing to grow the economy.

The problem was that the most specific claims in Moore’s article, which appeared in the Kansas City Star, were inaccurate and completely misleading. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data he cited which he said were for the last five years were actually from an earlier period starting just before the last Great Recession. These skewed the numbers to the point of uselessness. Moore claimed he made a “mistake”.  I believe him, but thousands wouldn’t.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised because ideological blinkering long ago supplanted truth and facts in the alternate universe occupied by most conservatives – even ones with PhDs. And as Krugman says in his piece, comparing states is, in any case, an inexact science given stark differences in key areas such as the price of housing.

But for me it raised a more fundamental question. After all Texas has been extolled as an example of successful conservative governance not only by Moore in his dodgy article, but in a June issue of The Economist a far more credible source. But is it enough to measure success, particularly as it relates to whether a state is well governed, by the number of jobs produced in a given period (one driven, at least in part, by the oil and gas industries) or its economic growth rate? Certainly by these measurements Texas is flourishing; but when viewed against what many consider are other key metrics, such as the economic well-being of its lower-income residents, not so much.

Poverty-USA ranks Texas 40th among states. And in its report on child well-being, the Annie E Casey Foundation  ranks Texas 43rd overall, this in a country which as a whole ranks near the bottom among rich countries. Out of 16 measurements of economic, educational, health, and family/community well-being examined by AECF, Texas only managed to beat the national average in 4 of them. Its efforts in the areas of health and family/community support were particularly dismal.

Finally, this table from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the income threshold for adults with children to be eligible for Medicaid is an eye-popping $3,736 for a family of three, placing it only behind Alabama as the stingiest of states. Even Mississippi is more generous (albeit not by much).

And the disparities between states like Texas and their Blue State peers are only likely to grow. This is especially so when it comes to health as the rate of uninsured likely continues to drop significantly in states that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, while staying the same or decreasing only marginally in Texas and other states that have fought it tooth and nail.

I don’t expect any sense from an ideologue such as Stephen Moore but The Economist should be ashamed of itself for mistaking Texas for a well governed state.

It’s nice to be able to brag about economic growth but what good is it if an ideologically blinkered and uncaring government does little to use the generated wealth to improve the lot of its neediest residents?

What’s the Matter with Kansas? It has a Brownback

What’s the Matter with Kansas? It has a Brownback

As in Republican Governor Sam Brownback.

From The Washington Post:

In many ways, Brownback’s term has been a perfect experiment in Republican governance. Take a crusading conservative governor, give him a legislature with Republican super-majorities so he can do pretty much whatever he wants, and let him implement the right’s wish list. The result was supposed to be a nirvana of economic growth and budgetary stability. But the opposite happened. test

The disastrous results of Brownback’s economic and fiscal policies demonstrate that it’s one thing for your average Republican to go around saying things like “cutting taxes raises revenue!” even if nearly every economist agrees that the idea is absurd (Greg Mankiw, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, famously called the purveyors of this idea “charlatans and cranks”).

In 2012 and 2013, Brownback and Republicans in the legislature cut income taxes twice, eliminated taxes on corporate profits that are “passed through” to individuals (making it the only state that does this), and since they’re Republicans, made changes to the tax code that had the effect of raising taxes on the poor (the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a good explanation of the tax changes and their effects). The governor has said his goal is to eventually eliminate the income tax completely.

And what happened? At a time when most states are seeing higher revenues as the country recovers economically, Kansas’ revenues have plummeted. The result has been cuts to schools, cuts to higher education, cuts to libraries, and cuts to local health centers. Kansas’ job growth and income growth are lagging the nation’s.

Here’s a graph prepared by mn progressive project based on data from the Kansas Legislative Research Department:

Conservative Economic Failure

This experiment in conservative economic policy proves that their phony doubletalk about how tax cuts for the rich generate more tax revenue and makes everyone richer has always been a ruse to funnel money from the masses into the offshore accounts of the super rich. We already knew that, but now “moderate” Republicans who drank the Kool-Aid aren’t drinking it anymore. They are supporting the Democratic candidate for governor.

A moderate GOP uprising is in full swing against Gov. Sam Brownback, the fierce fiscal and social conservative whose policies led to a purge of middle-of-the-road Republicans from the Legislature early in his tenure.

In a rare and surprising act of political defiance on Tuesday, more than 100 Republicans, including current and former officeholders, endorsed Brownback’s opponent, statehouse Democratic leader Paul Davis. Polls show the challenger with a surprisingly strong shot at taking out Brownback in November.

Let’s hope Kansans have learned their lesson and vote for their interests instead of the interests of the 1%.

Conservatives want to raise the Minimum Wage – Just Like Liberals!

Conservatives want to raise the Minimum Wage – Just Like Liberals!

We’re accustomed to hearing progressives and Democrats argue for raising the minimum wage. So it’s refreshing to hear a similar case being made from the other side of the ideological divide.

Ron Unz is a conservative activist and former publisher of The American Conservative magazine who until recently was leading a fight for an initiative to raise the minimum wage in California to $12.00 an hour. Unfortunately, lack of funds has derailed the effort as he explained in this interview with The Nation but what is striking from both this conversation and one he had on NPR earlier this year is that his key arguments for increasing the minimum wage resonate as much with liberals as they should do with conservatives.

For example, Unz makes the point in this New York Times Op-Ed piece that a low minimum wage amounts to a government subsidy for private businesses because the taxpayers pick up the tab for poorly paid workers to receive income support, food aid and other governmental support:

Ordinary taxpayers would be the other great beneficiaries, saving many tens of billions of dollars each year in payments for Food Stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing subsidies, and other social welfare programs. Businesses should pay their own employees rather than quietly shifting the burden to government programs and the American taxpayer. Conservatives and free-market supporters should endorse this simple idea.

He also is unsympathetic to the usual Republican braying that raising the minimum wage will force businesses, especially small ones, to lay off workers. He notes that the recent CBO report on the likely effects of raising the minimum wage clearly shows that the benefit for many millions of low wage Americans, who will gain a significantly higher income, far outweighs the possible loss of some jobs. Second, as a believer in the free market he expresses the view that if a business is unable to survive without paying a ridiculously low hourly wage, then maybe it doesn’t deserve to.

That these and other Unz arguments for raising the minimum wage sound much like our own is no accident. The logic of it transcends ideological and philosophical differences. So why do most congressional Republicans still oppose it?

Well, one strong reason is that Obama is for it and that’s enough for many to be against it on principle. But the GOP’s opposition is guided primarily by their reflexive support for small business owners most of whom object vociferously to increasing the minimum wage. And ideological consistency takes a hike since ordinary taxpayers provide what amounts to a $250 billion subsidy to the GOP’s business pals so that our working poor can have a somewhat decent living.

The strength of conservative objections has rendered a federal increase unlikely any time soon. The fight, however, has already shifted to the states. Here in Washington, for example, both the state and the city of Seattle are separately considering minimum wage increases.

Requiring American businesses to provide a decent minimum wage to their workers is not a Democratic or Republican issue, or a liberal or conservative one. It’s simply the right thing to do. Ask Ron Unz.

Ugly side of Republican conservatism on display with Obamacare rollout

Ugly side of Republican conservatism on display with Obamacare rollout

A recent Washington Post story tracked the efforts of an Affordable Care Act navigator, Courtney Lively, to help uninsured residents of Breathitt County, Kentucky, enroll in Medicaid now that it has been expanded under the Affordable Care Act, or in a private health insurance plan on the state’s exchange. Kentucky is the only southern state to both establish its own exchange and embrace the Medicaid expansion. Not coincidentally, it has a Democratic governor.

The article shows the ACA working as intended to help those most in need of health insurance. Breathitt County, for example, has a per capita income of just $15,000; 15% of Kentucky’s population or about 640,000 people are uninsured:

Lively, who has been signing people up since the exchanges opened in early October, said one woman cried when she was told she qualified for Medicaid under the new law. She said people have been “pouring in” to her office, an unused exam room in the back of the clinic, where her set-up includes a table, a two-drawer filing cabinet, manila folders, a planner to track her schedule, a notebook to track her numbers and a laptop that connects to the state health-insurance exchange, Kynect.

Here is a sample of the sort of people featured in the piece:

“So, is that Breathitt County?” she asked Woodrow Wilson Noble as she tapped his information into a laptop Thursday morning.

“Yeah, we live on this side of the hill,” said Noble, whose family farm had gone under, who lived on food stamps and what his mother could spare, and who was about to hear whether he would have health insurance for the first time in his 60-year-old life.…. “All right,” she said. “We’ve got you eligible for Medicaid.”

“I got some warts on me I got to take off, some moles,” he said. “I might have that colonoscopy done. My mom had colon cancer twice. I never had money to do it.” He said he was told it could cost at least $2,000.

“I got this pain in my left shoulder,” he said, lifting his arm and rotating it. “Might be arthritis, I guess. I don’t know.”

And another

“All right,” she said to her next client, a 52-year-old disabled master electrician who said his mother, two brothers and two sisters all died from lung cancer. He had been ignoring a spot on his lung discovered during a visit to the emergency room after he had broken his ribs several years ago.

He also vaguely recalled being told at the time he had something called “wedging of the spine.”

“What do I need here?” said Jeff Fletcher, who was being sued for those medical bills. “Proof of income?”

After a few questions

“All right,” Lively said after a while. “You are covered.”

“I’m covered?” Fletcher said. He slapped the table. He clapped twice.

“Woo-hoo! I can go to the doctor now?” he asked Lively. “I’m serious. I need to go.”

And finally Ronald Hudson

…a skinny 35-year-old who worked as an assistant director at the senior center and had just been released from the hospital after a blood-sugar spike.

He’d never had insurance before and said his hospital bills were up to $23,000 at this point.

“Good night,” Lively said, tapping in his information.

Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes.

“You’re going to qualify for a medical card,” she told Hudson.

“Well, thank God,” Hudson said, laughing. “I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.”

Lively printed out his papers.

“RONALD’s Health Care Coverage Options,” one of them read.

“Oh, man,” Hudson said.

This is a side of America that most of us don’t see and many of us choose not to; the sort of poverty that shouldn’t exist in a society as rich as this one but does, and to an alarming degree. What follows, however, is a sample of the comments to the article from what I think we can safely say is the conservative side of the American divide:

funowobama1 11/25/2013 10:22 AM PST Is there poverty in the U.S. yes – but giving out free things does not make it better – a woman with 5 kids making 14k – no info on who the father(s) is/are – I have pay for her not being able to cross her legs – please show me the logiic in all of this make her pay something so she can feel the pain.

Skunk at the picnic

11/25/2013 10:12 AM PST

I’ve always wanted to forsake my own financial goals in order to subsidize a bunch of people who smoke, drink, never exercise or eat right or do anything else remotely associated with good health.

dwpm

11/25/2013 10:09 AM PST

There is no such thing as poverty in America. The only people who believe there is poverty in America are the individuals who have never really seen it. Real poverty is no shelter, no food, no education and no healthcare (note I didn’t say “no health insurance”). I have seen real poverty very, very up close and personal and believe me it doesn’t exist anywhere here. Everyone in America (and Europe) has access to shelter, access to food, access to education and access to healthcare (note I didn’t say “access to health insurance”). Poverty in America is all about extracting tax dollars from the working class segment and redistributing it to the dependent class segment to create life long democrat voters. And that is truly evil.

ULikeItUKeepIt

11/25/2013 8:54 AM PST

The title should be edited as follows: “Freebie insurance folks sucking off middle class Americans who were struggling to keep their family afloat and now must pay triple for their family’s insurance to keep Freebie people insured are very happy to screw millions of Americans by playing victim.” Disgusting. Vote liars, Democrat party race-baiters, Constitution haters, and others OUT. Return America to the people who actually love it.

4Runner05

11/23/2013 6:27 PM PST

For Dem/socialists to feel self-righteous and morally superior from these poignant stories, how many people have lost – and will lose – their health insurance? Your socialist wet dream is all about screwing 85% of the people (who have some form of insurance) for the 15%. Destroy the current insurance system and replace it with a “caring, helpful” bureaucracy and you have the real reason behind Obamacare. POWER When the government has power over your health care, you’ll surely vote for the party (Dem/socialist) that has that power. One of the people in the story said it all: “Hudson said, laughing. ‘I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.” If he wants to keep his rationed and mediocre health “care”, then he will. How many of you lefties are “pro-choice”, BTW?

FTC

11/23/2013 7:13 PM PST

So “God fearing people” are responsible for people living in squalor? The poor on the most part make bad life decisions their whole lives and pass those horrible values onto their children, who in this day of birth control and abortion on demand, probably should not of had. The problem with Liberal compassion is that it makes everyone a victim of someone else, and never allows for the dysfunctional to take responsibility for their failures. The taxpayer is responsible for every girl that gets pregnant, the children of every boy or irresponsible man who fathers children with multiple women? Our welfare/entitlement state already is unsustainable, where does it end? As Margaret Thatcher so aptly pointed out “Liberals eventually run out of other peoples money”.

And although congressional Republicans and conservative punditry may not be as openly hostile to the poor, their overall message is still remarkably disdainful. While I doubt anyone can recall the last time they heard a conservative congressman or Fox pundit express any concern for the plight of the uninsured in America, nearly all of whom simply had no viable options for obtaining coverage, they have been apoplectic over the cancellation of policies held by relatively affluent individuals and families who can easily obtain other decent plans under the ACA.

Much of this is politics, no doubt. And some is a woeful and probably willful ignorance of the extent of poverty in America. But most of it is simply a stunning lack of empathy and a willingness to accept myths about the poor and peddle them as facts. As Michael Tomasky says in this piece in The Daily Beast talking about the House GOP’s bill to slash $40 billion in food aid to the poor:

…I think maybe you’ll agree with me that the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done is try to push through a $40 billion cut to the food-stamps program. It’s just unspeakably cruel. They usually say publicly that it’s about saving money. But sometimes someone—one congressman in particular—lets slip the real reason: They want to punish poor people.

… The proposed GOP cut is such a piddling amount of money, in terms of the whole federal budget and especially when spread out over 10 years. But nearly half of it is quite literally taking food out of the mouths of children. What’s the point? The point really is that Tea Party Republicans think these people don’t deserve the help. That’s some fascinating logic. The economy melts down because of something a bunch of crooked bankers do. The people at the bottom quarter of the economy, who’ve been getting jobbed for 30 years anyway and who always suffer the most in a downturn, start getting laid off in huge numbers. They have children to feed. Probably with no small amount of shame, they go in and sign up for food stamps.

And what do they get? Lectures about being lazy. You may have seen the now-infamous video of Tennessee Congressman Steve Fincher, who told a crowd over the summer that “the Bible says ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.’” This while Fincher, a cotton farmer, has enjoyed $3.5 million in federal farm subsidies. This year’s House bill ends “direct payments” to farmers whether they grow any crops or not—except for one kind: cotton farmers.

Underlying the actions of congressional Republicans and the words of their base is a pernicious belief that if you’re poor you deserve to be so because you must wish it. Or to put it another way: “Find me a poor person and I’ll show you a lazy bum”.

Ignorance of their own country combined with a singular lack of empathy and a large dose of hypocrisy – this, increasingly, is the only side of the modern American conservative movement that we now see. And it is ugly.

Mitt Romney Says He is Severely Conservative

Mitt Romney Says He is Severely Conservative

“My- my state was a leading indicator of what liberals will be trying to do across the country and are trying to do right now. And I fought against against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor.” – Mitt Romney, February 10, 2012 at CPAC. (link)

From the Language Log:

In the Corpus of Contemporary American English, severely precedes a modifier 959 times, and in 939 of these, the following word is something generally regarded as regrettable if not downright bad. In descending order of frequency:

disabled, depressed, ill, limited, injured, retarded, impaired, malnourished, obese, overweight, handicapped, autistic, restricted, divided, disruptive, disturbed, underwieght, allergic, wounded, deformed, overcrowded, brain-damaged, limiting, disappointed, underrepresented, understaffed, critical, abnormal, depleted, flawed, troubled, underfunded, polluted, sprained, disadvantaged, asthmatic, cold, compromised, broken, disoriented, negative, repressed, short, underdeveloped, violent, damaging, debilitating, bruised, disordered, dependent, distressed, dyslexic, eroded, inadequate, infected, demented, degraded, deficient, congested, cropped, anorexic, afflicted, downhill, dysfunctional, embarrassed, fractured, fragmented, hurt, malformed, mutilated, nearsighted, painful, premature, repressive, strained, stricken, undulating, weak, acidic, anxious, bleeding, bipolar, biased, alone, crowded, constricted, dangerous, defective, decayed, delinquent, disciplined, deprived, face-lifted, hearing-impaired

(emphasis added) I wish I could bold “underfunded” but that he is not.

And now we can add conservative to the list. It fits in quite nicely.

Mr. Fish reflects on the assassination of Osama and the feeding of his body to the fishes

Mr. Fish reflects on the assassination of Osama and the feeding of his body to the fishes

ComingOfRageMr. Fish has a new column up at truthdig titled “Coming of Rage in Neverland” in which he first reflects on how the way he percieves the world and formulates his own ideology is so incredibly different than that of conservatives:

G. Gordon Liddy, noted Watergate thief and tournament-level egomaniac, once said that, “The press is like the peculiar uncle you keep in the attic—just one of those unfortunate things.” Of course, such a quote, rather than maligning the press, ultimately serves only to label the quote’s originator as a crackpot. Who else but a crackpot would want to shove another family member into the attic simply because he or she tends to ask a lot of questions about the world and expects a certain logic to be present in the answers?

It’s a common phenomenon, this maligning of the press from the right wing, and it’s what I love about blowhards like Liddy. Like the ancient geocentrists who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that all other heavenly bodies revolved around it, so much of the conservative ideology assumes that its stubborn refusal to tolerate any point of view that doesn’t recognize the values of the GOP as originating from some fixed center at the very core of the moral universe is in adherence to some permanent truth and not merely proof that the GOP is too fearful and too unimaginative and too antiquated to be able to comprehend—let alone keep up with—a reality that, simply by being chemically based, is anything but immovable. That’s why the conservatives perceive any criticism of their principles to be an attack on reality itself, and therefore believe that any disagreement with them is not only mad but also depraved and deliberately pernicious. It is also how they are able to so easily integrate the concept of absolute good and evil into their worldview.

Next, to illustrate how his controvertible mind works, he transcribes a humorous conversation he had with his girlfriend many years ago that is mostly about whether their attraction to each other is so sexually rooted that they would not “go out” with one another if one them suddenly switched genders.

And ultimately to the point of the whole piece:

Most disturbing about bin Laden’s message, bat-shit crazy adherence to a voodoo-addled theocratic justification for mass murder aside, was how closely his disdain for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East mirrored my own, particularly when it came to Washington’s megalomaniacal support of Israel’s merciless occupation and savage mistreatment of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Then there were the bombings by the Clinton administration of Sudan and Afghanistan and the harrowing sanctions, and occasional missile attacks, against the utterly defenseless Iraqi population. And then there was the construction of all the military bases in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Yemen, Kuwait, Cyprus, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. It pissed me off that the refusal of my own government to espouse humanitarian concerns for those it so unjustly threatened and brutalized had me reluctantly agreeing with a top-notch crackpot who would have no problem watching while his thugs sawed off my head with a sharp, prehistoric stone because his fucking Santa Claus found my atheism naughty.

I highly recommend you read the whole column.

Donald Rumsfeld to Receive “Defender of the Constitution” Award

Donald Rumsfeld to Receive “Defender of the Constitution” Award

RAW Story reports:

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be honored with the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual event attended by numerous conservative activists, journalists, and politicians.

WorldNetDaily columnist Brad O’Leary and American Conservative Union chairman David A. Keene will present the former Defense secretary with the award on Feb 10, according to the conference’s schedule of events (.pdf).

Rumsfeld, who was Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, oversaw the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was replaced by current Defense secretary Robert Gates after a number of generals called for his resignation.

In 2005, he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for authorizing the torture and abuse of detainees at facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU claimed that the Constitution prohibited the Secretary of Defense from adopting or permitting policies of cruelty against civilians in US military custody, but Rumsfeld claimed he could not be held legally liable for the torture.

You might recall that Rush Limbaugh received this award in 2009.  And now Rumsfeld?  One has to wonder which constitution CPAC is reading.

To me, giving Donald Rumsfeld a Defender of the Constitution Award is like:

  • Giving Hannibal Lecter an Adventurous Gourmet Diner Award.
  • Giving Hugh Hefner Viagra.
  • Giving Sarah Palin an Orator of the Year Award.
  • Giving Count Dracula a Blood Donor Awareness Award.
  • Giving a Seattle cop a gun.
  • GLAAD giving Michele Bachmann a Congressperson of the Year Award.

And The Old Viking thinks Giving Donald Rumsfeld a Defender of the Constitution Award is like:

  • Giving Lindsay Lohan in marriage to Billy Graham.
  • Giving Jared Loughner the NRA sportsman of the year award.
  • Giving Tony Hayward a retirement condo on the Gulf Coast.
  • Giving Sarah Palin a membership in PETA and SCAP.
  • Giving Tiger Woods naming rights to the annual Miss Chastity pageant.
  • Giving Glenn Beck the Scholar of the Year award at Harvard.
  • Giving Paul Bremer, George Tenet, and Norman Prodhoretz Presidential Medal of Freedom awards.  Oh, Wait.  George Bush did that!
Conservatives are a Selfish and Mean Group

Conservatives are a Selfish and Mean Group

The Old Viking has often contended that when one looks deep into the hearts of a conservative they are basically a selfish, perhaps even a mean, group.  The OV believes that they have shown that they are willing to deny necessary support to 90 needy families in order to insure that ten undeserving families don’t also get unwarranted benefits.

Today’s release of a Gallup Poll finding reinforces that point. Take a look at these numbers

Favor:                                                  Extending tax cuts                 Extending unemployment

Conservative Republicans                                   87%                                          38%

Moderate/Liberal Republicans                             78%                                          62%

Conservative/Moderate Democrats                     64%                                          85%

Liberal Democrats                                               39%                                           89%

Read more at GALLUP.com.

The willingness of the conservative to selfishly add to the national debt for their own financial benefit is, of course, quite predictable.  But to deny benefits to the victims of the financial misdeeds that are a result of the rapacious avarice of the financial barons in this country is unconscionable and goes to the very heart of their meanness.

Sure, they tell you that they contribute to private charities to alleviate some of the distress of those in need but those private charities cherry-pick the individuals or groups that they will help and they will require that recipients adhere to the basic idea that the government is behind all the pain and suffering in this country.  Even their charitable giving is miserly.  The most recent analysis (pre-2007) that I could find showed that, on a percentage of income basis, the poorest among us give the most.  Those with incomes below $20,000 gave 4.6% to charity.  From there it declines to 2.4% from those in the $75,000-$100,000 income range.  It jumps slightly for the over $100,000 income group which gives 3.1%.  It is worth noting that one-third of charitable giving goes to religious organizations.  Source: Portfolio.com.

Not to overanalyze the perception that conservatives are selfish and mean but my guess is that they wonder why everyone can’t be just like them and those who vary from their model citizen—the unemployed and underemployed, the substance abusers, the sexually profligate, etc.—have forfeited their claim to public support.  They even expand that outcast group to the mentally ill and the developmentally challenged when they call for their execution for crimes that were a result of an underlying condition that may not always be manageable.