Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scores of Conservative Depredations In The Daily News



Our site, Criminalize Conservatism, has made deciphering the news quite easy as long as we remember: Conservatives and their front groups -- such as the GOP, the "think tanks," and various propagandists -- are murderous, thieving criminals who are striving for a new Age of Feudalism, and not only hide this core belief behind a litany of lies and deceptions, but pretend to be in favor of Christianity and other social and moral issues to attract the intellectually-challenged to their side...



(http://vagabondscholar.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-four-types-of-conservatives.html)

Witness the following stories:

Debtors Prisons, Once a 19th-Century Relic, Again Wreaking Havoc in UShttp://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/17939-debtors-prisons-once-a-19th-century-relic-again-wreaking-havoc-in-us

The Many Forms of Terror: Individuals, Military Violence, Urban War Zones, and Poverty
http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/17938-the-many-forms-of-terror

Governor Explains Away Poor Jobs Numbers: Most Unemployed People Are On Drugs
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/04/30/1939341/governor-poor-jobs-numbers-unemployed-people-on-drugs/
17 arrested outside N.C. Senate chamber protesting Republican Voter ID measure
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/17_arrested_outside_nc_senate_chamber


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs bill banning destruction of guns surrendered at buyback events
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/f09ec71c9441492896d4a1d609bac628/AZ-XGR--Gun-Buybacks
GOP’s debt limit threat goes off the rails
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/04/29/gops-debt-limit-threat-goes-off-the-rails/?hpid=z2
Ohio high school student shoots himself in front of class. Commenter: “Great. Just what the anti-gun nutties need.”
http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2013/04/29/ohio-high-school-student-shoots-himself-in-front-of-class-commenter-great-just-what-the-anti-gun-nutties-need/
If Republican Ideology Is So Great, Why Are So Many of Their States Poor?
http://www.forwardprogressives.com/if-republican-ideology-is-so-great-why-are-so-many-of-their-states-poor/

Any one of these stories might have been the topic of today's posting.



In fact, we were going to pick the last story on Mississippi, recalling with fond nostalgia the ways we were taught to spell the word as children:
"Em, Eye -- Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, I -- Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Eye -- Humpback, Humpback, Eye" OR (recite this as fast as you can.) "EmEye, EssEssEye, EssEssEye, PeePeeEye,"
Naturally,we were going to make fun of Mississipeans who are too dumb to see how their Conservatism makes them one of the most poor and miserable States in the Union...although many point to other States who also qualify for being poor and dumb.



One of the  corollaries to our premise of Conservatism as a criminal cartel, has been the historical rule describing the sheer stupidity of the followers of Conservatism, that while not all Conservatives are stupid, most stupid people are Conservatives.



And this has also kept us supplied with many stories (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/search/label/conservatives_are_stupid) and photos (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2013/04/stupid-conservative-signs.html) each and every day.



At any rate, we can see how easy it is to interpret the news of the day when we discover the true aims of the Conservative leadership and their front groups, fellow travelers, propagandists, and Sheeplet followers:  Conservatism is a vast, right wing, criminal conspiracy --  Ignore the side issues, they're nothing but smoke.


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"Stupid is as stupid does."

Forrest Gump


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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Last Word On Charter Schools As Their Teachers Scramble To Unionize


"Charter School Teachers Join the Union?" Surprise, surprise!  In a post by Samantha Winslow at labornotes.org, we learn that unionism is being bolstered by yet another example of capitalism's excess - the charter schools:

"Teachers at Ivy Academia in Los Angeles are the latest to join a wave of union organizing victories at charter schools.

"Fifty-six teachers and counselors joined the L.A. teachers’ union in February, following on the heels of schools in Michigan and New York. The American Federation of Teachers says its affiliates now represent 8,000 members at 191 charter schools. The National Education Association co-represents many charters with AFT and calculates there are about 625 unionized charters total.

"Ivy teachers make less than public school teachers and are given extra job duties outside the classroom, said Tom Kuhny, a middle school teacher at Ivy for seven years.

“'You come in at less salary. You work longer hours because you are at-will,' he said.

"Deb Schwartz, an 11th grade English teacher, said that in the 2012 school year, teachers were given 13 furlough days in anticipation of the state budget crisis. 'We felt we did not have a voice in some of the decisions and changes,' Schwartz said.

"When school funding was restored, teachers got back only five of the 13 unpaid days. 'At that point,' she said, 'everyone got together and said, ‘This doesn’t seem right.’

"Teachers also wanted stability. Schwartz said, 'It is held over our heads on a daily basis that there is a glut of teachers waiting to replace us, because we don’t have a union.'



"ORGANIZE THE COMPETITION

"Teachers’ unions have battled school districts as they close public schools and replace them with charters, which the unions see as privatization efforts driven by business interests.

"Nonetheless, charters continue to grow—and the AFT and NEA have been compelled to turn to organizing teachers there. The Department of Education says the number of charters tripled between 2000 and 2010, while their share of public schools grew from less than 2 percent to 5 percent.

"Nowhere is this proliferation more evident than in Los Angeles, which has 183 charters. They enroll almost double the number of students of any other city, nearly 80,000.

"Only 40 schools are union thus far. Twenty are part of the Green Dot chain and are affiliated with the NEA’s state-level California Teachers Association. Six are conversion charter schools, where teachers petitioned to become an independent charter school and remain in their local union, United Teachers Los Angeles. UTLA now represents 900 charter teachers, at nine different employers.

"Studies show charters have higher turnover than traditional public schools. 'Turnover in general is an issue for teachers,' Brooklyn College professor David Bloomfield said. ;The difference is, it’s part of the business model for many charters, because it keeps salaries low. It keeps the demands for benefits low.'



"Charters are paid an amount per pupil similar to public schools by the school district or state, but save money because they don’t pay into pension and benefit funds the way unionized districts do. Charters can also be exempt from some of the rules and regulations traditional public schools must follow, depending on state law.

"Bloomfield said charter teachers’ joining unions is “part of the maturing of the charter movement, because, as teachers who haven’t left grow older, they want to take control of their labor destiny.”
WAYS OF ORGANIZING

"At Ivy Academia, teachers avoided the drawn-out fight common to organizing drives by showing overwhelming support for the union: 54 of 56 eligible teachers and counselors signed cards that were recognized by the state labor board.

"They also worked with UTLA to line up community and political leaders to encourage the school to immediately recognize their union, so they could move into bargaining.

"Nationally, organizing methods have varied, depending on employer opposition and tactics.

"Some employers have argued that they belong under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, which governs the private sector. While some public sector workers can win union recognition simply by showing majority support through signed cards, private sector workers usually have to go through an extra step of winning a worksite election. This gives the employer additional time to campaign against the union.

"Charter schools have generally been considered public entities—as they are primarily funded by taxpayer dollars—even though they are managed by private nonprofits or companies.



"Chicago’s Math and Science Academy appealed to the NLRB after teachers gained majority support on authorization cards that were recognized through the Illinois body that governs public sector workers.

"The NLRB took the boss’s side, ruling in December 2012 that the charter school was a government subcontractor and thus under its jurisdiction. While this ruling is specific to the Chicago school, it has the potential to set precedent elsewhere.

"A Philadelphia charter operator is following the Chicago example. Teachers at the New Media charter petitioned the state for recognition two years ago, to join the Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, the AFT’s national organization for charter schools (it has chapters in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Michigan, and Massachusetts).

"But the charter pushed for an NLRB election. The two sides finally agreed to schedule a vote April 24.

"Many charters are still being organized under state labor relations boards, however, including Ivy Academia and others in California.

"Even in the private sector, of course, employers can voluntarily recognize a union—so the two sides can negotiate over the method of achieving recognition.

"In Chicago, UNO, a charter chain operated by a politically connected community and business leader, recently agreed to organizing ground rules with the AFT charter local. These include card-check recognition and neutrality while teachers decide whether to organize.

"A corruption scandal uncovered by a Chicago newspaper may have given UNO an incentive to avoid public conflict.

"Ivy Academia has had its own scandals: the school’s founders were recently found guilty of misappropriating $200,000 of public funds. They had stepped down from the school in 2010.

"Teachers and counselors at Ivy are looking forward to bargaining their first contract. They have reached out to parents to emphasize that unionizing is in the best interest of both teachers and students.

“'We have a really wonderful school,' said sixth-grade teacher Jaime Marks. 'This is going to increase the opportunities for students to be successful.'

What a "wonderful school" is, we weren't informed by Ms. Marks in this article.  The "opportunities for students to be successful" are moot, since we find as far as lower student test scores and teacher issues:



"According to a study done by Vanderbilt University, teachers in charter schools are 1.32 times more likely to leave teaching than a public school teacher.[113] Another 2004 study done by the Department of Education found that charter schools 'are less likely than traditional public schools to employ teachers meeting state certification standards.'[114] A national evaluation by Stanford University found that 83% of charter schools perform the same or worse than public schools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_school#Lower_student_test_scores_and_teacher_issues)."


The Stanford Study:



"In 2009, the most authoritative study of charter schools was conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. The report is the first detailed national assessment of charter schools. It analyzed 70% of the nation's students attending charter schools and compared the academic progress of those students with that of demographically matched students in nearby public schools. The report found that 17% of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools; 46% showed no difference from public schools; and 37% were significantly worse than their traditional public school counterparts. The authors of the report consider this a 'sobering' finding about the quality of charter schools in the U.S. Charter schools showed a significantly greater variation in quality as compared with the more standardized public schools with many falling below public school performances and a few exceeding them significantly. Results vary for various demographics with Black and Hispanic children not doing as well as they would in public schools, but with children from poverty backgrounds, students learning English, and brighter students doing better; average students do poorer. While the obvious solution to the widely varying quality of charter schools would be to close those that perform below the level of public schools, this is hard to accomplish in practice as even a poor school has its supporters.[51]

Looking at charter schools from the standpoint of student performance - and what other standard other than the profits to the investors in charger schools - they are a joke, and the teachers like Ms. Marks can be considered as nothing more than any other scab in the world of business, scabs who now want the protection of unionism and care nothing about the draining of resources from our public school system to line the pockets of investors all or warm the cockles of the hearts of Conservatives all over the country.

From another report:



"Charters can be divided into two broad groups: schools that are freestanding, and schools that are part of larger networks or chains. In 2007, about half of all network or chain charter schools were managed by for-profit companies. Just three years later, that figure had dropped to about 37 percent, according to the most recent data from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

"Some states, including New York, have banned for-profit companies from running charter schools. In other cases, companies like EdisonLearning, which used to focus primarily on managing schools, have shifted away from management after struggling to turn a profit or raising enough investment capital.

"The number of for-profit companies has declined modestly, and the number of schools they operate has hit a plateau, said Gary Miron, a professor of education at Western Michigan University who studies charter schools. (At the same time, some of the schools’ enrollment continues to increase, Miron said, and the number of virtual schools is exploding.)

"Education leaders say there are two main reasons for the increased wariness toward for-profit operators: philosophical objections to mixing public education and profit, particularly in low-income communities, and mounting skepticism over their record in some cities and states.

“'The biases are deeply ingrained, especially in low-income neighborhoods where the notion of profit-making is not welcome and there’s this sense that competition and markets have not benefited these communities,' said Nina Rees, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

"Rees said there’s nothing inherently wrong with for-profit operators. She pointed to the National Heritage Academies, based in Michigan, which she says has managed to expand relatively successfully; the network now operates about 75 schools in states including Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina, according to its website. Meanwhile, a number of nonprofit operators have performed abysmally.

“'The bottom line ought to be quality,' she said.

Advocacy groups find a role

"But in Tate County, where nearly two-thirds of public-school students live in poverty, the specter of for-profit management has been greeted mostly with skepticism.

“'When you draw off funding … it can cause some great concern. It’s basically taking money we don’t have,' said Steve Hale, a Democratic state senator from the county, who fielded residents’ concerns about for-profits last year. (Mississippi has only fully funded its K-12 system twice in the last decade.)



"In the end, bids from management companies came in two and three times higher than the state wanted to spend on Tate County’s schools. All were declined, and the state continues to oversee the Tate district through an appointed 'conservator'—-a public employee.

"But Hale’s concerns haven’t gone away, and two charter bills are circulating. One would allow for-profits; the other would ban them. For-profit education providers K-12 Inc., Connections Education and E2020 spent $250,000 on Mississippi lobbyists in 2011 and 2012, with more spending expected this year. That doesn’t include money from numerous advocacy groups (such as the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the Mississippi Center for Public Policy) that have a track record of promoting school choice, including vouchers and charters."


Show me the money.

From an article at jonathanturley.org, "Charter Schools and The Profit Motive," submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger:

"In a 2010 New York Times article titled Charter Schools’ New Cheerleaders: Financiers, reporters Tripp Gabriel and Jennifer Medina wrote the following about what was going on in the state of New York:

"Wall Street has always put its money where its interests and beliefs lie. But it is far less common that so many financial heavyweights would adopt a social cause like charter schools and advance it with a laserlike focus in the political realm…

"Although the April 9 breakfast with Mr. Cuomo was not a formal fund-raiser, the hedge fund managers have been wielding their money to influence educational policy in Albany, particularly among Democrats, who control both the Senate and the Assembly but have historically been aligned with the teachers unions.

"They[hedge fund managers] have been contributing generously to lawmakers in hopes of creating a friendlier climate for charter schools. More immediately, they have raised a multimillion-dollar war chest to lobby this month for a bill to raise the maximum number of charter schools statewide to 460 from 200.

"That same year—2010—Juan Gonzalez believed that he had uncovered one of the reasons why hedge fund managers, some wealthy Americans, and the executives of some Wall Street banks had become such big proponents of charter schools and had gotten involved in their development. Gonzalez said the banks and other wealthy investors had been making 'windfall profits' by taking advantage of 'a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction.' That little know tax break, the New Markets Tax Credit, can be so lucrative, Gonzalez said, 'that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.' He added that the tax break 'gives an enormous federal tax credit to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities, and it’s been used heavily now for the last several years for charter schools.'

"Gonzalez focused his research on the city of Albany—which, he wrote, 'boasts the state’s highest percentage of charter school enrollments.' He provided an explanation of how lucrative investments in building new charter schools can be:



"What happens is the investors who put up the money to build charter schools get to basically or virtually double their money in seven years through a thirty-nine percent tax credit from the federal government. In addition, this is a tax credit on money that they’re lending, so they’re also collecting interest on the loans as well as getting the thirty-nine percent tax credit. They piggy-back the tax credit on other kinds of federal tax credits like historic preservation or job creation or brownfields credits.

"The result is, you can put in ten million dollars and in seven years double your money. The problem is, that the charter schools end up paying in rents, the debt service on these loans and so now, a lot of the charter schools in Albany are straining paying their debt service–their rent has gone up from $170,000 to $500,000 in a year or–huge increases in their rents as they strain to pay off these loans, these construction loans. The rents are eating-up huge portions of their total cost. And, of course, the money is coming from the state.

"Brighter Choice Foundation

"According to Gonzalez, 'a nonprofit called the Brighter Choice Foundation had employed the New Markets Tax Credit to arrange private financing for five of the city’s nine charter schools.' By 2010, many of those charter schools were struggling to pay escalating rents, which were 'going toward the debt service that Brighter Choice incurred during construction.'

"Gonzalez gave examples of the escalating rents:

"The Henry Johnson Charter School saw the rent for its 31,000-square-foot building skyrocket from $170,000 in 2008 to $560,000 in 2009.

"The Albany Community School‘s went from from $195,000 to $350,000.

"Green Tech High Charter School rent rose from $443,000 to $487,000.

"Gonzalez reported that a number of Albany’s charter schools have fallen into debt to the Brighter Choice Foundation. He wondered why the schools’ financial problems hadn’t raised eyebrows with state regulators or caused concern for the charters’ school boards. He noted that the powerful charter school lobby had
so far successfully battled to prevent independent government audits of how its schools spend their state aid.' He added that 'key officers of Albany’s charter school boards are themselves board members, employees or former employees of the Brighter Choice Foundation or its affiliates.'

"Gonzalez said that the city of Albany is 'exhibit A in the web of potential conflicts that keep popping up in the charter school movement.' It appears Gonzalez is correct about Albany being just one example of what’s going on in the movement. Brighter Horizons isn’t the only 'foundation' or company making profits off of charter schools.

"...(T)he push, coming from Wall Street and the extremely wealthy, for this specific form of charter schools, for this specific way of funding them, is part of both short-term and long-term drives for profit that will accrue to the wealthiest while weakening the middle class."



For the complete article, click here --> http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/16/charter-schools-and-the-profit-motive/, and for sources and further reading:

Juan Gonzalez: Big Banks Making a Bundle on New Construction as Schools Bear the Cost (Democracy Now!)

Albany charter cash cow: Big banks making a bundle on new construction as schools bear the cost (New York Daily News)

Show us the money: “Master Class” for private equity investors in public education (Parents across America)

“New market tax credits” and charter schools (Parents across America)

Cashing in on the charters: Petrino DiLeo exposes a new attempt by Wall Street to make money off our schools (Socialist Worker)

Charter school company with plans for McKinney is criticized (Susan Ohanian)

The big business of charter schools (Washington Post)

Evil Ed, inc: the Wall Street-charter school connection (Open Left)

Corporations Advise School Closings, While Private Charters Suck Public Schools Away: As charter proponents aim to cash in on major investment returns, Philly braces for a massive schools shakeup. (AlterNet)

Charter Schools’ New Cheerleaders: Financiers (New York Times)

For School Company, Issues of Money and Control (New York Times)

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results (Pro Publica)

Education: follow the money (Daily Kos)

Wall Street Hearts Charter Schools, Gets Rich Off Them (FireDogLake)

Wall Street Behind Charter School Push (Huffington Post)

It's all about the money.



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"The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past
centuries."

Rene Descartes (French philosopher, mathematician, dubbed the 'Father of

Modern Philosophy', 1596 – 1650)

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not all Conservatives Are Wingnuts, But Most Wingnuts Are Conservatives



In an oped by Thom Hartmann at The Daily Take, "The Right Wing Cult Machine Exposed," the relationship between Conservatism and cultish behavior lays exposed for all to see:

"Far right Conservatism has become a cult, and Rush Limbaugh is its leader.

"By definition, a cult is a group or sect bound together by adoration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

"A cult promises you redemption. It tells you that if you do what it says, and as it believes, you will be protected from the evil people that are out to get you and the rest of society.

"A cult purges the non-believers. And it actively tries to vilify all those who are not part of the cult, saying that they're doomed and destined to go to hell.

"So how did Limbaugh become the leader of such a large, and influential, cult?



"(L)ike cult leaders do, Limbaugh offered up a theatrical flair, and accompanied that with a marketing genius.

"He offered his followers redemption. He offered them protection from what he told them they should fear – liberals and feminists. He demanded ideological purity, and absolute devotion to the ideology of far-right 'conservative' corporatism. And he vilified all those who didn't see things his way.

"Limbaugh then managed to convince his followers that faith in his word was more important than facts. No matter what everyone else said, if Rush said it, it must be true. Only information that supports Limbaugh's positions can be believed, and everything else is just lies.

"Which brings us to today.

"Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing talk radio cult have conjured up such a large following that they're helping the Koch Brothers drive the polarization within the Republican Party, and within America's political discourse.

"Ironically, so says Frank Luntz, a top Republican consultant and campaign guru.

"Earlier this week, Luntz told a group of college students at the University of Pennsylvania that Limbaugh and his fellow right-wing talk-radio cult leaders are 'problematic' for the Republican Party because they're responsible for the stark polarization within the party.

"In a secret recording of his comments, Luntz can be heard saying that, 'And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it's really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It's only on the Republican side...[inaudible]. [Democrats have] got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what's driving it. If you take—Marco Rubio's getting his ass kicked. Who's my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He's getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.'



"But no matter what Luntz says, Limbaugh and the rest of his right-wing media pals will continue to rally their followers, and continue to vilify those who dare think otherwise.

"They will continue to paint President Obama as America's anti-hero, using terms like 'socialist' and 'Muslim' to further scare their cult followers into seeing things their way.

"Sadly, that cult is coming dangerously close to having complete control over the Republican Party and much of the political discourse in our country.

"Thankfully, people are waking up and recognizing the far right-wing media for what it is: a cult."

For the complete piece, go to --> http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16012-the-right-wing-cult-machine-exposed.

In a second post, "False Flags, Sharia Law, and Gun Grabs: GOP Lawmakers Embrace The Crazy," by John Avlon at the Daily Beast, we discover "(t)he conspiracy theories percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP":

"A few days after the Boston bombings, Stella Tremblay went to Glenn Beck’s Facebook page to express her conviction that the terror attack was, in fact, orchestrated by the U.S. government.

As Jonathan Swift famously put it, “you cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into.” (Rob Kim/Getty, Corbis)

“The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” she wrote. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us.”

"She then linked to a video at Infowars.com called Proof! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.

"Tremblay’s post, though, stood out from the wave of post-attack crazy because of her day job: she is a New Hampshire state legislator.

"Like too many enthusiastic dupes, the Republican representative was echoing conspiracy entrepreneurs like Beck and InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who blend dark alternate history with a dystopian future, offering the listeners the 'secret truth.'

"Tremblay is part of a disturbing trend of – conservative state legislators and even congressmen entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials.

"Of course, craziness is a bipartisan issue, with Republicans frequently pointing to former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as a Democratic example – but the right has been particularly prone to paranoia since Bush Derangement Syndrone on the left gave way to an epic case of Obama Derangement Syndrome from the other side.

"This week in Missouri, state legislators voted to cut funding for the state’s divers license bureau because it had been tasked in 2003 with also overseeing concealed-carry permits. The wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson explained – in the words of the Columbia Tribune – that the bureau 'was part of a plot to impose United Nations policies in this country. ‘I have been doing some study on U.N. Agenda 21,’ Melissa Wilson… told the committee. ‘With this information going to the federal government, I feel that I will be a target. With Agenda 21, I will be someone who will be put on a watch list.’ She added that Agenda 21 is being pushed through in part because of a mass brainwashing known as the Delphi Technique.

Alex Jones in downtown Manhattan, Sept. 11, 2007. (911conspiracy/flickr/Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/14638975@N04/2220050399/))

"This is shadowy conspiracy theorist stuff, but this theory isn’t just isolated to a few folks in Missouri. Last November, the conservative head of the Georgia state legislature invited his conference to a four-hour briefing on Agenda 21. The invitation read: 'How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to 'save the earth.' The presentation was MC’d by a local Tea Party activist who is also a 9/11 Truther, and a Birther.

"Even the Economist has felt compelled to weigh in on the absurdity of Agenda 21 conspiracy theories, for the record.

"Adding to the reality-free high pitch of anxiety was the Texas state attorney general who – during the height of the North Korean escalation earlier this month – declared that the real danger to America wasn’t a communist dictatorship threatening to attacks us with nuclear weapons, but the Obama administration.

“'One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new 
assault,' A.G. Greg Abbott said, according to the Waco Tribune, 'an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons. The threat that we're getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.'

"This is the leading elected law enforcement official in our second-largest state.

"In North Carolina, conservative state law-makers decided to push forward a clearly unconstitutional bill to allow the state 'to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide,' in the words of local station WRAL. When one of the sponsoring law makers, Michele Presnell was asked if she would be comfortable with a Muslim prayer to Allah before a public meeting, according to the Raleigh News and Observer, she replied, 'No, I do not condone terrorism.'
"The fact that conspiracy theories are percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP.
"This sickness is starting to infect the halls of Congress. Friday, Congressman Louie Gohmert couldn't resist telling WND radio that, 'This administration has so many Muslim brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.'



"That remark came just a day after Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jason Chaffetz of Utah held a hearing 'to examine the procurement of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.'

"Despite the innocuous language, the hearing represented a capitulation, if not an outright endorsement, of conspiracy theories promoted by the likes of – you guessed it – Alex Jones and InfoWars – namely that the Homeland Security Department is stockpiling ammunition to use against Americans in a massive imposition of martial law. As Media Matters’ Tyler Hanson detailed, these conspiracy theories have been echoed in opinion pieces published in The Daily Caller, Forbes and Fox News – in addition to usual suspects like Breitbart and WorldNetDaily – where Michele Bachmann’s staffers have said she gets much of her 'news.'

"Perhaps the highest profile impact of conspiracy theories to date on national policy was the defeat of the universal background check bill – specifically the widespread claims threat that closing existing loopholes would be a first step toward a national gun registry that would in turn bring Hitler-style confiscation to America. That, of course, would in turn lead to martial law, as former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee explicitly claimed on his radio show earlier this month.

"Never mind that the bill explicitly made it a criminal offense to make any such list—fear-fueled hyper-partisan narratives can outweigh facts. As Jonathan Swift famously put it, 'you cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into.'



"As the faithful know, you reap what you sow, and the steady diet of hyper-partisan media has seeded these conspiracy theories in the minds of party activists to the extent that they are starting to shape policy debates. The embarrassing incidents are evidence of a larger problem that needs to be confronted: when you do not condemn the use of hate and fear to serve as a recruiting tool against your political opponents, the ability to reason together is undermined and self-government is compromised. There is a cost to condoning extremism when it seems to benefit 'your team.'"

Conservative wingnuts seem to be God's gift to non-Conservatives, but too many of them at a time will turn people off from politics -- and that isn't a Bad Thing for the Conservative leadership.  Their wingnut Sheeplets vote, they carry signs (though filled with misspellings and grammatical errors), and they trumpet Conservative memes without the slightest idea how they look to sane people.  When Conservatism is finally criminalized, we can only hope that they receive the proper psychiatric treatment to allow them access back into the civilized -- and sane -- world.



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"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free
people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Bush House of Horrors



In yesterday's post, "50 Reasons To Despise George W. Bush," we thought that would be the end of piling on Dubya for awhile, BUT a few Sheeplets questioned whether Bush 43 was one of the worst and most destructive Presidents we've ever had, leading us to a few more observations today - and this is hopefully the last we've heard about that horrible excuse for a man for awhile, starting with the following article from Mark Karlin, Editor of Buzzflash at Truthout.org, "George W. Bush's Presidential Library Is a Fraud: He Was Installed in a Right Wing Putsch."

(And see "How Bush Got Elected Twice (The Electoral College for Dummies!)."
http://virgomonkey.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/the-electoral-college-for-dummies-the-book-is-really-out/)

Bush wants "history" to judge his presidency, not the perceptions of those that lived through that nightmare, and if posterity is to remember anything about him, it's that he stole the Presidency - at least once:

"Of Thursday's dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library, NPR headlines an article that details how President 'Obama's Bush Library Speech Leaves Iraq And More Unspoken.'

"Most Americans of both parties have, over the years, appeared to have adopted the attitude that the stolen election of 2000 is something the nation has gotten over. But it's hard not to underscore that the George W. Bush presidential library is really a fraud.

"After all, Bush was never elected president. On the 10th anniversary of his anointment by the Supreme Court, and particularly by the stay of the Florida state-mandated recount by Antonin Scalia – a long-time buddy of Dick Cheney and rabid right wing partisan. In 2010,Eric Alterman recounted just some of the machinations that led to an election that was stolen even before the votes were cast (which was done with a number of voter suppression strategies, including the purging of tens of thousands of largely minority voters in Florida done by a firm called ChoicePoint) on the tenth anniversary of the legalized putsch.



"The coup was openly revealed in Scalia's infamous stay of a state-mandated recount (Bush, by the way, as governor of Texas signed a bill that would have made a recount in Florida automatic if the vote were as close in Texas as it officially was in the Sunshine State) when he stated that a recount "threatens irreperable harm to [Bush] and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election." In short, Scalia is saying that if Bush lost after a recount it would hurt his reputation as president since the Supreme Court would install him in the White House no matter what the voters decided in Florida. (Remember that Al Gore won the national popular vote by more than 540,000 votes.)"

(And as we must interject once again, he also lost the Electoral votes...[although]..."the national news reported a slew of headlines asserting that Bush would have prevailed. -- Joyce, Jnr.)

"The conclusion was erroneous. The newspapers assumed that the counties would only have looked at “undervotes” — ballots that did not register any votes for president — and ignored “overvotes” — ballots that registered more than one vote for president. An overvote would be a ballot in which the machine mistakenly picked up a second vote for president, or in which a voter both marked a box and wrote in the name of the same candidate. A hand recount in which an examiner is judging the “intent of the voter” would turn those ballots that were originally discarded into countable votes.

"Counting overvotes in which the intent of the voter was clear would have resulted in Gore winning the recount. And subsequent reporting by the Orlando Sentinel and Michael Isikoff found that the recount, had it proceeded, almost certainly would have examined overvotes. (Most of the links have been lost over time, but you can find references here and here.)" (
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/06/yes-bush-v-gore-did-steal-the-election.html)

To continue:

"Recently, I was re-reading one of BuzzFlash's interviews with Kevin Phillips. Phillips was a high-ranking Republican strategist during the Nixon years, who has since penned scathing books about the GOP abandoning principles and replacing them with the goal of protecting the wealthy. He also was a keen critic of the stolen 2000 election, writing that the Bush family excelled at stealing their way into public office through vote manipulation. He pointed to Duval County in Florida that George Herbert Walker Bush lost when he carried the Sunshine State by more than 600,000 votes in 1988. But in 2000, his son won Duval County by several thousand votes. Isn't that a bit odd to say the least?

"There is so much evidence related to the stolen election of 2000, all of which amounts to sophisticated voter theft strategies that would make a banana republic proud.



"No, it's not over. Bush's presidential library should represent the house of horrors that he brought to this nation as a losing candidate who was put in power by a widespread network, including his brother, the governor of Florida at the time, and his brother's ambitious secretary of state.

"Last week according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Bush said that he has no regrets about his presidency:

"Ten years after leading the United States into war with Iraq, and despite leaving office with historically low poll ratings, George W. Bush says he has no regrets about his presidency.

'''I'm comfortable with what I did,' Mr Bush said, during a rare interview. 'I'm comfortable with who I am.'

"Breaking a silence that he maintained through the costly war's 10th anniversary, Mr Bush said it was 'easy to forget what life was like when the decision was made' to invade.

"However, 'nobody likes to be criticized all the time', he told The Dallas Morning News, his local newspaper in Texas.

"Thieves rarely have regrets unless they get caught.

"It is ironic that President Obama praised his predecessor at the library dedication, when Obama's State Department is claiming that the Venezuelan election to replace Chavez is suspect.

"The right wing coup that put Bush into office wasn't a suspected theft of an election; it was a mugging of democracy in broad daylight
."



This brings us to the final story today, "Bush and the American Right Wing: Top Ten Ways they are Like the Children of an Alcoholic," by Juan Cole at Juancole.com:

"It is a well-known syndrome in alcoholic and/or abusive families that the child runs to the abusive parent, and makes excuses for him or her. In fact there are a whole set of syndromes afflicting the poor adults who lived through that horror as children.

(Another note: Bush was believed by many experts to be the victim of Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome, possibly brought about by his country club, gin-swigging mother..."Adults with FAS are at high risk for mental health problems. They are often socially isolated, have difficulty with interpersonal relationships and may have difficulty functioning in many environments. Adults with FAS have spotty memories and often have difficulty distinguishing fact from fantasy. They need supported housing and employment programs because independent living is rarely an option."  See http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x231653)



"The fawning interviews attending the opening of the George W. Bush presidential library, for the least bookish of all our presidents, struck me as having a lot of resemblance to those syndromes. America has a problem holding its high elected officials to account. A republic as the founding generation envisaged it is a collective of equals. We have no king, no one who is above the law. Some of us serve the public through elective office for a while. If we do it honorably we get thanks. If we do it dishonorably, we should be tried for our crimes or at the very least suffer opprobrium in polite society. The emergence of the imperial presidency in the twentieth century and until now is an affront to those republican values, a descent into empire and monarchy and lack of accountability. For ex-presidents everything is forgiven over time. We named the airport in our national capital for a man who sold weapons stolen from Pentagon warehouses to Ayatollah Khomeini at at time the latter was on a terror watch list, and used the black money thus gained to support right wing death squads in Central America. We let a war criminal pronounce himself comfortable with his crimes against humanity.

"1. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. They have to constantly make excuses for the criminal behavior of their ex-president. For instance, it is often alleged that all international intelligence agencies agreed with the Bush administration that Iraq had ‘weapons mass destruction.’ But the French did not, and the Germans had serious questions. It is not true, just a lie that we are forced to tell in order to protect an war-addicted president. Likewise, they often maintain that WMD actually was found in Iraq (wrong) or that it was moved to Syria (not true) or that Saddam Hussein was tied to al-Qaeda (false). Or they may downplay the number of Iraqis killed as a result of the illegal US invasion. Or they may say that waterboarding and stress positions are not torture and that ‘the US does not torture.’

"2. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents are super responsible or super irresponsible.

"Some supporters of a criminal ex-president become controlling and need everything to be in order all the time, suffering from anxiety and perfectionism. They have a compulsion to bust unions to prevent strikes, and to send troops to places like Iran and Syria, to put them in order, or to insist on enormous military budgets several times larger than any other country in the world.

"Others become highly irresponsible party animals, insisting that the rich be exempted from taxes, opposing all gun control, arguing for further deregulation of banks, spoiling the environment, abusing minorities, and becoming addicted to Fox Cable News.

"3. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents are supremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

"They are used to dealing with a habitual offender. They take care of him, and are told ‘it wasn’t his fault’ or ‘he didn’t really mean it.’ They have such lowered expectations for their politicians that they will vote for the Tea Party or Michelle Bachmann. They often end up in an unhealthy relationship with another abusive politician.

"4. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents have difficulty completing political projects. They were used to being interrupted constantly by the abuser during his administration. They might have been balancing the budget in 1999 but when the abuser showed up they’d have to cut taxes so deeply on the rich and devote so many trillions to foreign military adventures that they’d just forget about the health of the budget. Afterward, they might take up gun registration reform but then just abandon it in the middle. Since they weren’t accustomed to successful follow-through, they became chronically flaky.

"5. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents have difficulty with intimate political relationships. Since their previous president constantly lied to them in order to trick them into supporting illegal wars, they develop a deep distrust of others. Having learned that politicians are not trustworthy, they think a subsequent president wasn’t really born in America, or that universal health care involves death panels, or that scientists are lying about global warming or that the United Nations is not really a collective seeking world peace but a sinister conspiracy with Blackhawk helicopters positioned in Montana.

"6. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents have to guess at what normal behavior is. Having been lied to, sent to war under false pretexts, and told that regulating banks or polluting industries is wrong, they do not have any idea what normal political life is like. They occasionally get glimpses of it on MSNBC on television, or when they visit their friends (if they have any) who vote for the Democratic Party, or just by guessing at what normal politics might be like.

"7. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents have difficulty having fun. Having been constantly traumatized by being told they are in a war on terror, a war on drugs, and several actual wars, adult followers of abusive ex-presidents don’t know how to enjoy life. They don’t know how to look forward to the prospect that by 2015 the US will not be at war for the first time in 14 years. They cannot enjoy video games, which they blame for gun violence, or television, which they see as immoral and basically gay, or Comedy Central shows like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, which they see as part of a liberal conspiracy.

"8. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents take themselves very seriously. Because they were told that other people hate their values and they are the indispensable nation that must intervene everywhere in the world, they cannot ever lighten up. They are holding up the world, which if left to the effeminate Europeans, dictatorial Chinese or violent Muslims, would go to hell in a hand basket.

"9. Adult constituents of abusive ex-presidents overreact to changes over which they have no control. They obsess 24/7 over any act of terrorism not committed by white supremacists. They grew up with an unpredictable president who might invade a new country any time, producing anxiety.

"10. Adult constituents of abusive ex-president are impulsive. They tend to commit themselves to a course of action without giving serious consideration to other possibilities or to what might happen if they act this way. They’ll suddenly start maintaining that raped women cannot get pregnant or that the 17,000 women a year who become pregnant as a result of rape don’t exist or don’t matter. They cannot imagine that this stance might cause them to lose political elections. Then they beat themselves up for being the party of stupid or they say “we’ve had enough Bushes’ because of their self-loathing."

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome aside, it doesn't take too much imagination to explain the behavior of a son whose mother was a poor excuse for a human being herself:



"Barbara Bush: Things Working Out “Very Well” for Poor Evacuees from New OrleansAccompanying her husband, former President George H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, 'This is working very well for them.'

"The former First Lady’s remarks were aired this evening on National Public Radio’s 'Marketplace' program.

"Then she added: 'What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

“'And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them
.'

"And here’s a link to the audio of the NPR Marketplace segment containing this incredible quote. It’s real. Although some people might I suppose call it a nervous giggle rather than a chuckle."

The fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree, and neither do the nuts.



The Bush presidency was the proof that Conservatism is a vast, criminal conspiracy.  As we've noted before, the Conservatives' mantra of balanced budgets was put to rest when Cheney was asked how the Clinton surplus was going to pay down the deficit, and he replied that it wouldn't.  It would either be eliminated by lower taxation (for the rich, of course) or by returning it to the taxpayers.  The second approach was taken, but it matters little - the balanced budget "policy" of even the "compassionate" Conservatives was a joke, and exposed the Conservative "philosophy" for was it's always been:  the voice of the greediest and wealthiest among us, the belief that the rich should rule, and that class warfare was the main weapon in their arsenal.

Conservatism isn't a belief system, it's a refuge for the largest criminal cartel in U.S. history.



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"Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."

Mother Teresa


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Friday, April 26, 2013

50 Reasons To Despise George W. Bush



Peter Grier at the Christian Science Monitor on George W. Bush, in his report, "George W. Bush poll numbers up. Does America miss him yet?," doesn't quite answer the question with the obvious answer, that he's one of the worst presidents ever (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2013/02/reagan-still-worse-president-than-bush.html).  But we'll get to it in a minute.  First, the piece from Grier:

A recent poll showed George W. Bush's numbers improving, as he left office "...with a 23 percent approval rating, but now, as his presidential library is about to open in Dallas, he's back up to 47 percent. But he's got a way to catch Bill Clinton...Bush’s polls are still underwater, in the sense that more people – 50 percent of respondents, in the Post/ABC survey – disapprove of his performance than give it thumbs up. And for W., 'highest poll numbers since 2005' is not a high bar, given that his approval rating began to plummet about then and bottomed out at only 23 percent about the time he left office...Plus ex-presidents typically see a gradual but steady rise in their popularity after leaving office. Their failures fade, their successes seem hard-won in retrospect, and they’re not engendering any more controversy. Famously, Jimmy Carter rates much higher in the public esteem today than he did in 1980. Bill Clinton? The Big Dog remains the nation’s most popular living former Oval Office occupant, according to a Pew Research matchup...'George W. Bush helmed a war of choice that proved, in the end, to impose powerful constraints ... for American foreign policy. He pursued his foreign policy aims in such a way as to dramatically lower US standing abroad,' writes Drezner (Dan Drezner, Fletcher School professor of international politics).


A billboard along Interstate 35, taken on Feb. 9, 2010, in Wyoming, Minn., carries an image of former President George W. Bush and reads "Miss me yet?". The message was purchased by a group of small business owners and people from the Twin Cities area who want to remain anonymous.

Bob Collins/Minnesota Public Radio/AP/File
"And at the Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, points out that many more conservative Republicans have criticized Bush 43 in recent years as a big-spending, big-government president in GOP clothing.

“'According to a very frequently repeated (if sometimes indirect) conservative account, W. and his minions convinced Republicans to sell their birthright of ideological rigor for a mess of swing-voter pottage that failed politically as well as morally,' writes Kilgore.

"Perhaps the most interested observer of the Bush revisionism thus may be brother Jeb Bush, whose 2016 ambitions could depend on how conservative Tea Party types judge his family as a whole."



But on to the "50 Reasons You Despised George W. Bush's Presidency," a piece by Steven Rosenfeld at Altenet.org:

"On Thursday, President Obama and all four living ex-presidents will attend the dedication of the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Many progressives will remember Bush as a contender for the 'worst president ever,' saying he more aptly deserves a multi-million-dollar prison cell for a litany of war crimes.
"Amazingly, the Bush library seeks to ask visitors 'What would you have done?' if you were in this president’s shoes. The ex-president’s defenders are betting that the public will reconsider their judgments after a hefty dose of historical amnesia. Bush has been absent from political debates in recent years, instead making millions in private speeches. Today, his popularity is even with Obama's; both have 47 percent approval rating.  (See the csmonitor.com story, above.)

"Let’s look at 50 reasons, some large and some small, why W. inspired so much anger.

"1. He stole the presidency in 2000. People may forget that Republicans in Florida purged more than 50,000 African-American voters before Election Day, and then went to the Supreme Court where the GOP-appointed majority stopped a recount that would have awarded the presidency to Vice-President Al Gore if all votes were counted. National news organizations verified that outcome long after Bush had been sworn in.

"2. Bush’s lies started in that race. Bush ran for office claiming he was a “uniter, not a divider.” Even though he received fewer popular votes than Gore, he quickly claimed he had the mandate from the American public to push his right-wing agenda.  (Note: Gore also got the electoral votes: http://www.thenation.com/article/none-dare-call-it-treason)

"3. He covered up his past. He was a party boy, the scion of a powerful political family who got away with being a deserter during the Vietnam War. He was reportedly AWOL for over a year from his assigned unit, the Texas Air National Guard, which other military outfits called the "Champagne Division.”

"4. He loved the death penalty. As Texas governor from 1995-2000, he signed the most execution orders of any governor in U.S. history—152 people, including the mentally ill and women who were domestic abuse victims. He spared one man’s life, a serial killer.

"5. He was a corporate shill from Day 1. Bush locked up the GOP nomination by raising more campaign money from corporate boardrooms than anyone at that time. He lunched with CEOs who would jet into Austin to "educate" him about their political wish lists.

"6. He gutted global political progress. He pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, saying that abiding by the agreement would “harm our economy and hurt our workers.”

"7. He embraced global isolationism. He withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia’s protest, taking the U.S. in a direction not seen since World War I.

"8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. He ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” Meanwhile, his chief anti-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, and first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, testified in Congress that he was intent on invading Iraq within days of becoming president.

"9. Ramped up war on drugs, not terrorists. The Bush administration had twice as many FBI agents assigned to the war on drugs than fighting terrorism before 9/11, and kept thousands in that role after the terror attacks.

"10. 'My Pet Goat.' He kept reading a picture book to grade-schoolers for seven minutes after his top aides told him that the World Trade Centers had been attacked in 9/11. Then Air Force One flew away from Washington, D.C., vanishing for hours after the attack."



Have you had enough yet, and think 'My Pet Goat' a stretch?  All right, here's the next 10 reasons:

"11. Squandered global goodwill after 9/11. Bush thumbed his nose at world sympathy for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, by declaring a global war on terrorism and declaring 'you are either with us or against us.'

"12. Bush turned to Iraq not Afghanistan. The Bush administration soon started beating war drums for an attack on Iraq, where there was no proven Al Qaeda link, instead of Afghanistan, where the 9/11 bombers had trained and Osama bin Laden was based. His 2002 State of the Union speech declared that Iraq was part of an 'Axis of Evil.'

"13. Attacked United Nation weapons inspectors. The march to war in Iraq started with White House attacks on the credibility of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, whose claims that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons proved to be true.

"14. He flat-out lied about Iraq’s weapons. In a major speech in October 2002, he said that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to send unmanned aircraft to the U.S. with bombs that could range from chemical weapons to nuclear devices. 'We cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,' he said.

"15. He ignored the U.N. and launched a war. The Bush administration tried to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize an attack on Iraq, which it refused to do. Bush then decided to lead a 'preemptive' attack regardless of international consequences. He did not wait for any congressional authorization to launch a war.

"16. Abandoned international Criminal Court. Before invading Iraq, Bush told the U.N. that the U.S. was withdrawing from ratifying the International Criminal Court Treaty to protect American troops from persecution and to allow it to pursue preemptive war.

"17. Colin Powell’s false evidence at U.N. The highly decorated soldier turned Secretary of State presented false evidence at the U.N. as the American mainstream media began its jingoistic drumbeat to launch a war of choice on Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

"18. He launched a war on CIA whistleblowers. When a former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson, wrote a New York Times op-ed saying there was no nuclear threat from Iraq, the White House retaliated by leaking the name and destroying the career of his wife, Valerie Plame, one of the CIA’s top national security experts.

"19. Bush pardoned the Plame affair leaker. Before leaving office, Bush pardoned the vice president’s top staffer, Scooter Libby, for leaking Plame’s name to the press.

"20. Bush launched the second Iraq War. In April 2003, the U.S. military invaded Iraq for the second time in two decades, leading to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and more than a million refugees as a years of sectarian violence took hold on Iraq. Nearly 6,700 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq and Afghan wars."



With more than 30 out of the 50 reasons to go, we urge you to go directly to the story at Alternet.org for the rest of the reasons.  We're way too nauseated to continue. --> http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/50-reasons-you-despised-george-w-bushs-presidency-reminder-day-his-presidential?paging=off.

The conclusion of the article is worth noting, however:

George W. Bush "...was a disaster, leaving much of America and the world in much worse shape than when he took the oath of office in 2001. His reputation should not be resurrected or restored or seen as anything other than what it was."

And to celebrate the opening of his new library, we read his own lips:


While we didn't note Bush's regime as the reason for starting this site (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/p/purpose.html), without his presence in our White House, if we had never lived through those awful eight years with Cheney behind the Bush curtain, and if we hadn't suffered the depredations inflicted upon our country and others by Bush, we might never have sat down to contemplate the criminality of the Conservative cartel and initiate "Criminalize Conservatism."

Bush was one of the worst Presidents in our history and a despicable excuse for a human being.


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"Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and
share with the people the same happiness."

Khalil Gibran (Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer, chiefly known in the

English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, 1883 – 1931)

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Multiple Studies Confirm Conservatives Are Stupid AND Racist


Yesterday's post, "New Studies Consfirm: Conservatives Are Stupid," was quite popular and we are hopeful that today's post, reprinted from Attp.org by Jason, "Multiple Scientific Studies Confirm: Extreme Conservatism Linked To Racism And Low I.Q.," will be also appreciated, even if it's only an exquisite example of the little-used word schadenfreud, the "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Schadenfreud is not necessarily a bad thing, it's fun to say, and it's just another facet of life's rich pageant. (from the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark):
Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a fountain.Maria: "You should get out of these clothes immediately. You'll catch your death of pneumonia, you will."Clouseau: "Yes, I probably will. But it's all part of life's rich pageant, you know?"


From the essay:

"An article published at Psychology Today by Goal Auzeen Saedi, Ph.D. of Millennial Media (is) about the correlation between far right-wing conservatism, low intelligence and racism.



"Saedi writes,
“Hodson and Busseri (2012) found in a correlational study that lower intelligence in childhood is predictive of greater racism in adulthood, with this effect being mediated (partially explained) through conservative ideology. They also found poor abstract reasoning skills were related to homophobic attitudes which was mediated through authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact.”
"We checked the study Hodson and Busseri study, and the abstract certainly does say,
“'Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.'
"A January 2012 article in the Journal Live Science also cites the Hodsdon-Busseri study,
“'There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb…Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice.'



"Indeed, University of Washington Political Science Professor Christopher Parker, author of the new book ‘Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America’ agrees.

"Professor Parker, interviewed by Chris Matthews says,
“'What we’ve found out, we’ve come up with something that we called Reactionary Conservatism. What that means is, where as a regular conservative or a more mainstream conservative recognizes change is necessary to avoid revolutionary change, a reactionary conservative actually wants to go back in time. In the book we tie the Tea Party to the Know Nothing party of the 1850s, the Clan of the 1920s, the John Birch Society of the late 1950s and 1960s. It’s the same belief system, Chris, this idea that they’re scared of losing the America that they know and love to these other groups of people.'




"Americans Against the Tea Party reported on this very subject when a white, racist TEApublican CPAC attendee suggested that slavery wasn’t so bad, and that blacks should be thankful they were given food and shelter while they were slaves.
"So the next time you’re criticized for pointing out that conservative TEAvangelicals, TEApublicans and Libertarian-types are unintelligent, racist sociopaths – you can say, “It’s a scientific fact.” Of course they don’t believe in science either," as we saw in yesterday's post.

(We've deliberately excluded most of the photos in the essay of the racist signs the Conservatives proudly hoist as they've turned the stomachs of everyone we've shown them to.  If you want to all of them, as well as the interview with Professor Parker by Chris Matthews, go to --> http://aattp.org/multiple-scientific-studies-confirm-extreme-conservatism-linked-to-racism-and-low-i-q/.)

Those of us who have debated with Conservative Sheeplets online or in person are familiar with their "poor abstract-reasoning skills," and regular readers of this blog are familiar with most of the posts here --> http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/search/label/conservatives_are_stupid.



But schadenfreud aside, the antihomesexual prejudice and racism derived from those poor abstract-reasoning skills is a horrible manifestation of Conservative stupidity, and much of it can be attributed to the successful propaganda of Limbaugh, Fox News, and Company. 

When Conservatism is made illegal, many of the Sheeplets will have to be re-educated, retrained, and re-indoctrinated to think critically, logically, and with scientific exactitude to refit themselves back into a democratic society, and confiscation of the assets of the propagandists who brainwashed the poor Sheeplets in the first place is the obvious source of money to fund the re-education camps. 

Those Sheeplets who are stupid by heredity rather than by bad toilet training will have to await scientific discovery to cure their depressing paucity of intellectual ability.


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"I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Woody Allen


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