Ted Cruz: Selective Socialist

In west Dallas, Texas, there is a burial ground called La Réunion Cemetery. Most of the people interred there were European colonists who started a socialist community and tried gallantly to maintain it. At the time, 1855, Dallas was “a shabby little frontier village” next door to the community of hope-filled socialists. Today it is the ninth largest city in the country.

The La Réunion colony failed. And it failed for many reasons, beginning with the fact that, as Public Radio International put it, the colonists didn’t have “a very clear idea of what they were getting themselves into”:

The Texas heat. The lack of a navigable river. Slavery, and the violent politics around it. Land speculators and hucksters. And lots and lots of snakes.

To make matters worse, most of the European colonists had no farming skills. They were artisans and thinkers who mostly expected paradise, not frontier misery. They were no match for the harsh environment they’d unwittingly entered.

Those starry-eyed Europeans did not realize their utopian socialist dreams, but the hardy souls who eventually moved to that shabby little village next door did make a difference:

…historians credit Dallas’s early growth to the sudden arrival of these people, among them architects, musicians, builders, bankers and editors. When the Civil War broke out, many of those immigrants tried hard not take a side — some even hid out in Mexico to avoid the Confederate draft. After the War, the Reconstruction government needed non-Confederates to run the town: there they were, these battered idealists.

Some believe Dallas would never have become the city it is without those folks. Those socialists.

Which brings me to what’s going on in Texas today. No, I don’t mean the godawful storm that is still doing terrible things in and around Houston. And I don’t mean Agent Orange flying in to vainly attempt a rescue of his administration from abject failure. What I mean is the idea that all of us, as Americans, are expected to assent to helping devastated Texans with our tax money. But should we?

As has been widely reported, all but one of the Texas Republicans in the House and both U.S. Senators essentially said “Eff off!” to victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, as those right-wing anti-socialists voted against the aid package to help folks in the northeast. Suddenly, though, Hurricane Harvey has washed ashore and brought with it a new fondness for socialism. Suddenly, it is time to redistribute the wealth. Suddenly, La Réunion lives again!

Ted Cruz, whose father probably helped kill JFK and who has an ugly wife—unretracted claims of Tr-mp, not mine—defended his drop-dead-Sandy-victims vote this way:

The accurate thing to say is that I and a number of others enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Sandy. Hurricane relief and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue. The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork.

Image result for hurricane sandy and ted cruzNow, I’m not that interested in whether Cruz is lying about having been “enthusiastically and emphatically” supportive of pork-less hurricane relief five years ago. My default position on people like Cruz is that they are lying every time they speak, so no biggie here. What I am focused on is the casual way he says, “Hurricane relief and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue.” That sentence rolled off his tongue so smoothly that it sounded like he meant it. So, let’s pretend he did and ask ourselves, What does it mean?

It means that Ted Cruz has endorsed socialism. There is no other way to look at it. Ted Cruz is a socialist. He is as red as any La Réunion colonist ever was. He essentially said the United States is just one big La Réunion-like settlement. But, of course, we all know Ted Cruz doesn’t see it that way. Houston is a special case. It is a limited case. We shouldn’t get carried away with this socialist talk, he would insist.

But he’s wrong. What he advocates is a form of socialism. It is the government taking something from one citizen and giving it to another. And that idea is, theoretically, what conservatives have always hated. It is, theorectically, what they want to erase from American life. It is, theorectically, why they constantly attack New Deal thinking and programs.

But the still-developing disaster in Houston and elsewhere isn’t theoretical. The cloak-room purity of free markets and rugged individualism has surrendered to the stark reality that we all are necessarily in this together. Or at least we should be. My problem is not with sending whatever is necessary to help folks in Texas and Louisiana recover from this tragedy. Of course we should assist them, even if their Republican politicians are horrible legislators.

My problem is that some people can only see the need for socialist-like responses during large-scale disasters like this one. These types of events clearly demonstrate the foolishness of drown-government-in-the-bathtub ideology. Everyone can see that the future of Houston and other communities will depend on a large distribution—redistribution—of federal dollars, just like what happened here in Joplin. Ted Cruz can see that. All Republicans in Texas can see that. What they can’t see is that the same application of socialist thinking—the democratic variety—ought to be applied even when parts of the country haven’t been shellacked by a massive storm.

Every day someone experiences their own personal Hurricane Harvey. It may be a lost job or a devastating medical diagnosis. It may be the reality of being trapped in poverty, without a means of escape. It may be a drug addiction. It could be any number of things. And our reaction to these individual storms should be the same as if they occurred on a massive scale in a matter of a few days. There’s no reason to think otherwise. If democratic socialism is good during collective disasters, it is good during individual disasters.

And the theoreticians on the right know this. Back in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina hammered New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the Bush administration proposed a post-storm aid program that bothered the puritans of parsimony, the ideologues of individualism. Writing for Reason magazine (“Bush’s Disaster Socialism“), Shikha Dalmia explained her opposition:

Conservatives care not just about the size of government but about its scope as well. Direct federal aid—aid disaster victims don’t even have to justify to a bureaucracy—would inevitably expand Americans’ sense of individual entitlement, establishing a dangerous precedent. On Bush’s principles, why not have the federal government pay for health insurance, job training, and child care for victims of any calamity? After all, why are people who knowingly live in a hurricane-prone area more worthy of federal largesse than those who meet with random, unpredictable accidents? In short, how can Bush resist any suggestion to launch an all-encompassing national accident insurance program?

 You can see that, like George W. Bush’s proposals in 2005, Ted Cruz’s embrace of “disaster socialism” throws a wrench into the intellectual machinery of anti-welfare, anti-statist, ideologues. They see what it really means to embrace federal aid to hurricane victims. They see the socialism at the heart of it.

Shikha Dalmia asked the right question: “why not have the federal government pay for health insurance, job training, and child care for victims of any calamity?” Why not? Because Ted Cruz and others like him, hypocrites hungry for collective dollars today, will lose their appetite for those dollars when it comes time to hand them out to victims of “random, unpredictable” misfortunes that happen in everyday life.

That’s why not.

Missouri, And America, Apparently Need Some European Socialism

Everywhere you look, Republicans fear what they often call “European socialism.”

Here in Missouri, right-wingers, who dominate the legislature, are cutting taxes mostly for corporations and wealthy folks. And then they are asking voters to approve a regressive sales tax. They refuse to expand Medicaid (socialized medicine!) and give health insurance to folks who need it. Meanwhile, look at this:

When it comes to measuring health systems, Missouri is 44th among the states and the District of Columbia in terms of “access and affordability, prevention and treatment, potentially avoidable hospital use and healthy lives.” Get that? This state is almost at the bottom. The only states below us are Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. Think about that. Missouri isn’t that much better than Mississippi, in terms of our health system. Yikes. And people are dying because of it. The Commonwealth Fund estimates as many as “86,000 deaths a year would be avoided if some states improved their health systems.” Yikes, again. (For an “estimated impact of improving performance” for Missouri, go here.)

Mittens Romney tried to use socialism to scare Americans in 2012, when he told us that President Obama was “taking us down a path towards Europe.” Would that be so bad? some might ask, especially some in Missouri who don’t have health insurance. To answer that question, I will end with an extensive quote from a recent column by Robert Reich, in which he explained how bad the Canadians and Europeans have it:

Most of them get free health care and subsidized child care. And if they lose their jobs, they get far more generous unemployment benefits than we do. (In fact, right now 75 percent of jobless Americans lack any unemployment benefits.)

If you think we make up for it by working less and getting paid more on an hourly basis, think again. There, at least three weekspaid vacation as the norm, along with paid sick leave, and paid parental leave.

We’re working an average of 4.6 percent more hours more than the typical Canadian worker, 21 percent more than the typical French worker, and a whopping 28 percent more than your typical German worker, according to data compiled by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

But at least Americans are more satisfied, aren’t we? Not really. According to opinion surveys and interviews, Canadians and Northern Europeans are.

They also live longer, their rate of infant mortality is lower, and women in these countries are far less likely to die as result of complications in pregnancy or childbirth.

But at least we’re the land of more equal opportunity, right? Wrong. Their poor kids have a better chance of getting ahead. While 42 percent of American kids born into poor families remain poor through their adult lives, only 30 percent of Britain’s poor kids remain impoverished – and even smaller percentages in other rich countries.

With results like that, it is too bad that President Obama isn’t “taking us down a path towards Europe.” I know some folks in Missouri who wish he would.

Hurricane Francis

Conservative Christians sometimes tell us that when bad things happen, like the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, it is God’s way of telling us we have lost our way, become too permissive and sinful. The Almighty is trying to straighten us out by sending us plagues, storms, or earthquakes. Or else he is just, as C. S. Lewis once described him, the Cosmic Sadist and enjoys the miseries he creates.

Either way, God, at least the version that Catholics worship, is creating plenty of misery for the Republican Party in the form of a hurricane of a Pope: Francis. It has been several days now since Hurricane Francis issued what is called in the theological trade an “apostolic exhortation,” which is less authoritative than a papal encyclical, but carries more clout than a tweet. Or something like that.

In any case, this instantly famous exhortation is known in God’s tongue as Evangelii Gaudium, or in the tongue of mortals, “The Joy of the Gospel.”

It turns out, as far as God’s representative on Earth sees it, that the “joy” in the Gospel is not the ability to send your greenbacks to the Cayman Islands with a bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen and a command to relax and take it easy for a while. No, no, no. That’s not even close to the kind of joy this Pope is talking about. The fierce winds of Hurricane Francis threaten to blow away, or at least severely damage, all that the current iteration of the Republican Party represents.Pope Francis

“The Joy of the Gospel,” is, of course, primarily an exhortation for Christians, including the Church hierarchy, to renew their “personal encounter with Jesus Christ,” to never “tire of seeking his mercy,” to “start anew” and “enter into this great stream of joy.” There is also plenty of praise for the “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing.”

But the gusts of prose that have done, and hopefully will continue to do, real damage to the Republican brand are found in Francis’ “guidelines” as to how the Church’s “new phase of evangelization” should be accomplished. He writes (his emphasis):

All of them help give shape to a definite style of evangelization which I ask you to adopt in every activity which you undertake.

Uh-oh. You mean, every activity? Even government activity? Yes. Even that one.

The Pope says that while there have been many advances made “to improve people’s welfare,” there are some rather large gaps:

…we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries.

Francis also said something that has largely been overlooked in the popular press:

We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

We see such anonymity at work here in the United States, as wealthy political donors are able to hide behind virtually unregulated front groups, many of whom promote the kinds of economics that the Pope next condemns:

Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.

That may be as concise and devastating a critique of laissez-faire economics as you will ever read: “an economy of exclusion and inequality” doesn’t just injure people, it kills them. And just as there ought to be laws designed to deter murderous people, there also ought to be laws designed to deter murderous economies. That parallelism is quite clear. And it most definitely stands against everything that the Republican Party currently stands for.

The Hurricane continues with an equally devastating critique of the news business:

How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?

And how can it not be a news item when tens of millions of Americans go without health insurance every year, many of them sick and some of them dying, but it is news when John Boehner, falsely it turns out, claimed he had trouble enrolling on the ObamaCare website? Something is very wrong, as the Pope recognizes.

But he wasn’t done with his attack—there is no other word for it—on Tea Party economics:

Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. […]

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.

It is this analysis, this tree-snapping, roof-ripping analysis, that has people like Rush Limbaugh scrambling for the rhetorical basement:

This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.

A slightly more sober right-wing commentator, Charles Krauthammer, gave Francis, “a man who lived it in his own life,” credit for “incredible authenticity,” and then said:

I think it’s going to have a lot of influence, and I think it will unfortunately set back the movement in the Church at least recognizing how capitalism and the free market allows for the flourishing of individuals in a way that socialism and of course communism never did.

Notwithstanding Krauthammer’s suggestion, Pope Francis is not championing socialism or communism. He’s not a Marxist. He is attacking an economic system that has too little regulation, one without an enforceable code of what the Pope sees as Gospel-inspired ethics, which “would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order.” And it is here where I will emphasize something he said that deserves much more attention:

A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

pope francisKeep in mind that Francis is saying this to “political leaders.” And he is placing it all in the context of the Gospel, in the context of the evangelization of the world. No matter what you think of the Pope’s motives, no matter what you think of the source, this quite radical message represents all that is good about Christianity and all that our New Deal social policies inherited from it.

What Francis is saying is a galaxy away from attempts by Republicans—almost all of them Christians—to sabotage the new health care law and to keep millions from entering into the joy of its benefits. What he is saying is a universe away from fights over food stamps and unemployment benefits, from attempts to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.

Yes, what this refreshingly strange and cyclonic man of God is saying is far away from all that, but it is near to the heart of the best of our holy books. And, dare anyone to believe it, perhaps his words really are near to the heart of God.

[Photo: AFP]

Americans Endorse Socialism, Again

A new ABC/Washington Post poll conducted recently has caused some pundits to focus on the reality that Republicans are having a terrible time convincing most non-Republicans (that’s about 75% of the country, according to this poll) that the GOP is looking out for middle-class interests.

Most folks know where the loyalties of the current  Republican Party lie, and it is not with most folks but mostly with folks with the most.

But as we start thinking about the year to come, and to put the ridiculousness that is the fiscal cliff in perspective, I want to focus on one part of the poll that I am sure will get overlooked by most popular media types: America, as I have argued many times before, has a jones for socialism.

The pollsters asked this question:

17. In order to strike a budget deal that avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff”, would you accept “cutting spending on Medicaid, which is the government health insurance program for the poor,” or is this something you would find unacceptable? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

Now, it might surprise some of you, I know it did me, that only 28% of the respondents said it would be “acceptable” to cut spending on health insurance for the poor. And only 13% felt “strongly” that such cuts were acceptable. A whopping  68% (53% “strongly”) found such cuts “unacceptable.”

Wow.  Think about that.  With all the doom-talk, with all the talk about falling off cliffs, there is still an overwhelming majority of folks in America who refuse to solve our fiscal problems on the backs of poor people.

This holiday season I find that inspiring.

And lest you think I am drawing an untenable conclusion from that datum, a conclusion that concludes America has embraced a rather robust form of socialism, I submit to you another question asked by the pollsters:

17. In order to strike a budget deal that avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff”, would you accept “raising taxes on Americans with incomes over 250-thousand dollars per year,” or is this something you would find unacceptable? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

A staggering 74% of respondents said it was acceptable—54% felt”strongly”about it—to raise taxes on affluent Americans while also saying that any fiscal cliff deal-making should not include the poor.

That, my friends, is an endorsement of income redistribution, of socialism, right here in what right-wingers think is a center-right America.

Romneyspeak

Everybody, including some conservatives, are piling on Mitt Romney for his strange way of speaking. His latest gaffe is just one in a long line of weird expressions that seem to confirm what most of us suspect about Romney: he is and always has been insulated from the real world.

Here is a list of some fancy Romneyspeak:

“I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. I can’t have illegals.”

 “Corporations are people my friends.”

“…don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom…”

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

“Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?”

“I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”

“I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.”

Like he has before, Romney is pleading that his latest words, “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” were taken out of context.  That coming from a man who deliberately used in a campaign commercial a grossly out of context remark by President Obama. That coming from a man who constantly portrays the President as “in way over his head”  and “detached from reality” and that Obama doesn’t understand “what’s going on in America.”

So Mr. Romney deserves every single criticism he is getting.

But beyond that, it is nice to know that—in context—Mr. Romney has jumped into bed with and fully embraced American socialism:

We have a safety net for the poor in, and if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that. And if there are people that are falling through the cracks I want to fix that… I’m sure there are places where people fall between the cracks. And finding those places is one of the things that is the responsibility of government. We do have a very ample safety net in America, with Medicaid, housing vouchers, food stamps, earned income tax credit. We have a number of ways of helping the poor.

The problem with Romney’s latest hanky-panky with socialist America is that it won’t be a long-term relationship. If he gets elected, he will soon ask socialist America for a Newt-like divorce because Romney has already promised himself to Paul Ryan’s socialist-hating budget plan.

That plan would de-Medicare Medicare; slice the budget for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and food stamps; kill the Affordable Care Act and leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured; tie federal housing assistance to job training programs that Republicans have already voted to cut; all the while giving rich Americans even more tax cuts.

So even though to cover his gaffe-covered behind Mitt tried to show socialism some love, he’s got his eye on another, more familiar, more comfortable, and ultimately more desirable, lover.

Hallelujah For Government, Local, State, And Federal

Even though it is hard for some folks to admit it, America is awash in big-government, Europeanish socialism, including here in Joplin, as I have pointed out many times before.

Today’s Joplin Globe carried a story about the city of Joplin’s possible financial windfall from the Joplin tornado:

Leslie Jones, the city’s finance director, said the totals could change as repairs and replacement of damaged or destroyed property are completed, but tabulations so far project that the city actually could come out $130,000 to the good after the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Emergency Management Agency and the city’s insurance pay for everything they cover.

Costs paid by FEMA for expedited debris removal last summer amounted to $94 million, according to the report.

Now, it may not occur to local conservatives (and there are plenty of ’em) that the reason the city of Joplin’s finances may end up “to the good” after all that the May 22 tornado did to this community, is because the larger community—the rest of America—through both the state and federal government—we the people—helped us out.  From Palo Alto to Peoria to Poughkeepsie, people, through their taxes, invested in Joplin’s future.

And while polls may show, locally and elsewhere, that many folks don’t trust “government” and don’t much care for its size, Joplin area residents ought to be leading the Hallelujah Chorus in thanks for it.

Roy Blunt, Socialist Sympathizer

The theme of the day seems to be socialism.

In what may be his most egregious vote to date, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said “Hell no!” to those who dared to end socialistic subsidies to farmers with incomes over a million smackers.

The measure, sponsored by normally nutty neighbor Sen. Tom Coburn, would, as the AP put it,

discontinue certain farm subsidies for people who make more than a million dollars in adjusted gross income. The practical impact of the vote may be marginal — current limits are about $1.2 million at most — but it represents a sea change in how the heavily rural Senate views farm support. In recent years, many votes to limit subsidies have failed in the Senate.

Normally, I would have no problem with Blunt supporting socialist programs, but he has told us how worried he is about the federal deficit, and he has voted to be stingy in terms of helping middle class folks find work or keep the jobs they have or keep their heads above water with unemployment benefits (he voted against Obama’s jobs bill).  He’s also voted against raising taxes on wealthy folks to pay for all this socialism.

So, why would he vote to support subsidies to millionaire farmers who are, in Tom Coburn’s words, “doing just fine“?

Let me gue$$.

By the way, the bill passed 84 to 15.

Everything’s Big In Texas, Including The Socialism

Even though Rick Perry will never be president, and even though Republicans will never admit that they love them some socialism, this segment from last night’s The Last Word is very entertaining:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Socialist Capital Of Missouri: Joplin

As I have mentioned before, the EF-5 tornado that blew through Joplin on May 22, killing 160 people and destroying or damaging more than 7000 homes and businesses, also seems to have destroyed or damaged the anti-government sentiments of a lot of folks around here. 

At least until it’s time to elect more anti-government politicians to office.

In the wake of the deadly storm has come a tsunami of socialism to this notoriously fed-up-with-gubmint part of the country.

Consider just the last two days of reporting in the Joplin Globe.  On Friday, the above-the-fold news was:

In that article we learn:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon at a news conference Thursday afternoon announced state funding of up to $1.5 million for the Joplin School District to offset a projected drop in property tax revenue as a result of the damage wreaked by the May 22 tornado.

And:

Without the state funding, state and local officials said, the district would have had to contemplate raising the local operating and debt-service levies to meet financial needs for fiscal year 2012.

Think about that, all you anti-government types in Joplin.  In order to keep from raising local property taxes, our school district needs the help of other Missourians.  That’s called democratic socialism, my friends.

Or consider Saturday’s Joplin Globe:

In the first story we learn:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s city administration will ask the City Council at its meeting Monday night to allow the city to make application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual storm shelter funding.

Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm said that if the council authorized submission of the application and it was eventually approved, residents could build storm shelters or safe rooms and be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost.

In the second story we learn how eager some other area communities are in getting in on the federal program that would help with storm shelter funding.

Now, you can call this stuff anything you want, but when other Americans are helping Joplinites purchase and install storm shelters, I call it democratic socialism.

Finally, Saturday’s Globe also brought us this headline:

Contracts total $31 million for temporary schools

FEMA to pick up most of the cost.

In that story we find out many details about to whom this particular FEMA money—courtesy of democratic socialism in America—will go.  The money, only part of what FEMA has done for Joplin, is designated for contracts to establish temporary schools to replace those that were destroyed in the tornado. 

Here is a partial list of some of the local direct monetary beneficiaries of democratic socialism around the area:

Crossland Construction of Columbus, Ks.: $9,456,774

R.E. Smith Construction of Joplin: $5,786,104

Intelligent Investments of Neosho: $2,485,498

KIR Joplin, which owns the space in Northpark Mall that will house half of Joplin High School: $1,000,000 per year

Northpark Mall‘s management company: $134,250 per year

Joplin Business and Industrial Corporation for leasing space for East Middle School students: $432,000 per year

Bentley Investments, owned by Joplin resident Gary Hall: $420,000 per year

Joplin Memorial Hall, owned by the city: $400,000 per year

There you have it.  Socialism is alive and well in our fair city, but few dare call it that. 

Remarks And Asides

Newt Gingrich, the thrice-married, buffet-crashing, family-values, ethics slob, is about to announce his candidacy for the presidency.  In related news, Fox “News” Channel announced last week that it was terminating its contract with Gingrich, which allows Fox to now feature Gingrich on its various television shows for free.  Rupert Murdoch is one smart cat.

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Speaking of potential GOP candidates for president who will never be president, Rick Santorum appeared last Friday at a GOP convention in South Carolina, a state still unaware that the Civil War is over, but very much aware that a Negro is president. 

Jon Ward, at HuffPo, wrote:

At this weekend’s South Carolina GOP convention, Republican lawmakers warned that a second term for President Obama would kill America’s independent spirit and guarantee a permanent big government welfare state.

Ward also reported that the word “socialism” was tossed around a lot and that Santorum,

even raised the specter of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy in a speech here Friday night while explaining why his grandfather emigrated to the U.S. His uncle, he said, “used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good little fascist.”

There is no word from the birther-Right whether the fact that Santorum’s father was born in Italy, or whether Santorum may qualify for dual citizenship, disqualifies him from serving as our president.  Not to mention that Santorum may have some fascist blood in his veins. 

Oh, never mind. The fascist blood wouldn’t matter all that much to some of his supporters.

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Gallup reports on a new poll that tells us two things most of us already knew:

Romney’s GOP Supporters Tilt Upscale; Palin’s, Downscale

Only 9% of Republicans who earn less than $24,000 support Romney, compared to 21% of Republicans who support him and earn more than $90,000. Romney also attracted more college graduates (21%) than non-grads (13%), which means the smart money is on Romney.

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Most of us savvy political junkies know that Republicans love the idea of “local control.”  I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Nobody knows what’s best for the folks than those at the local level.”  Except that the notion is false.  Republicans are all about control at every level.

From an AP article last week:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that prohibits local governments from passing ordinances guaranteeing workers’ paid sick and family leave.

The Republican governor says it’s all about jobs: If you cut workers’ benefits, employers will flood the state.

God, I love Republicans.

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Finally, I have often suggested that the popular Fox “News” morning show, “Fox and Friends”—which has been the number one show (1.3 million viewers) for more than eight years—will cause one’s IQ to atrophy, if one tunes in too often. 

Here’s video evidence just from this morning, courtesy of Media Matters, which features the busty and leggy Gretchen Carlson offering up the opinion that “one of those dudes who was waterboarded” could make the case for collecting the reward on bin Laden’s now-skeletal head:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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