Wing Nuts

Nine Myths About Socialism in the US

 

Truthout – Bill Quigley

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development[1]. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries, but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic and Turkey.

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out toward socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth No. 1: The US Government Is Involved in Class Warfare, Attacking the Rich to Lift Up the Poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10 percent in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10 percent in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the US have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s. [2]

Myth No. 2: The US Already Has the Greatest Health Care System in the World.

Infant mortality in the US is fourth worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic. [3]

Myth No. 3: There Is Less Poverty in the US Than Anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20 percent or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries. [4]

Myth No. 4: The US Is Generous in Its Treatment of Families With Children.

The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low income or one of the parents is unemployed. [5]

Myth No. 5: The US Is Very Supportive of Its Workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other 30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two-thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers. [6]

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of eight paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers. [7]

Myth No. 6: Poor People Have More Chance of Becoming Rich in the US Than Anywhere Else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US. [8]

Myth No. 7: The US Spends Generously on Public Education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. [9] Educational achievement of US children, however, is seventh worst in the OECD. [10] On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third. [11]

Myth No. 8: The US Government Is Redistributing Income From the Rich to the Poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the US in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower. [12]

Myth No. 9: The US Generously Gives Foreign Aid to Countries Across the World.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007, the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan. [13]

Despite the opinions of right-wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path toward socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it. 

Footnotes

[1]. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an organization of 30 countries which works together for economic growth and to raise standards of living. The 30 countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the US.

[2]. OECD (2008), Growing Unequal: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries, Country Note: United States. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/2/41528678.pdf

[3]. US Country Highlights – OECD (2009) Doing Better for Children. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/21/9/43590390.pdf

[4]. US Country Highlights – OECD (2009) Doing Better for Children. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/21/9/43590390.pdf

[5]. OECD Family Database. PF3: Family Cash Benefits. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/62/5/41917645.pdf

[6]. OECD Family Database, PF7: Key characteristics of parental leave systems.
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/26/37864482.pdf

[7]. Babies and Bosses (Vol.5): A selection of tables and charts. – Table 7.1 European workers often have seven weeks of paid holidays per annum.
http://www.oecd.org/document/4/0,3343,en_2649_34819_37836996_1_1_1_1,00….

[8]. Economic Policy Reforms, Going for Growth (2010) Part II, Chapter 5.
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/17/42/44566315.pdf

[9]. OECD Family Database, PF2: Public Spending on Education. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/48/37864432.pdf

[10]. US Country Highlights – OECD (2009) Doing Better for Children. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/21/9/43590390.pdf

[11]. OECD Family Database, PF10: Public spending on childcare and early education. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/27/37864512.pdf

[12]. OECD (2008), Growing Unequal: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries, Country Note: United States. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/2/41528678.pdf

[13]. OECD. Table 1 of the Statistical Annex of the 2010 Development Cooperation Report.
http://www.oecd.org/document/9/0,3343,en_2649_34447_1893129_1_1_1_1,00.h…

Once They Know Suspect Isn’t A Teabagger, Relieved Republicans Go Back To Whipping Up Hysteria

Everything the right-wing does is designed to accomplish one of two things. Either
(a) transfer wealth from everyone else to the rich, or
(b) distract everyone else from the fact that (a) is occurring.

The above meme, written by Blast The Right’s Jack Clark tells us that the right-wing is constantly trying to create “straw men” in order to keep  the average citizen, right or left,  from seeing what’s really happening in the corporate world, which they (the GOP leaders and shills) have bought into, hook, line and sinker.

Their latest attempt at distracting us from the horrors of the gulf coast oil disaster, is to instill fear over the terrorist incident in NYC.   They don’t want Americans seeing the absolute failure of the “drill, baby drill” fiasco, so they shift to the ” terror, terror, be very afraid…” drumbeat, to distract us from the corporate disaster that BP has become. 

Since the GOP is deeply connected to the oil industry and since they advocated less regulations and supported Cheney’s private meetings with “big oil”, it would be an electoral disaster for them if the focus remained on the BP crisis in the gulf.

Instead, this is what they give us, en masse!

Crooks & Liars:

Yes, now that the Republicans and their assorted right-wing soul mates have been reassured that the main suspect in the Times Square bombing attempt isn’t a teabagger, they are (of course) back beating the drums of panic:

Yesterday, when the primary suspect in the attempted bombing of Times Square was a middle aged white guy, Republican leaders were the picture of calm, sober leadership. High ranking Republicans on committees related to national security like Pete Hoekstra and Peter King urged people not to jump to conclusions, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised New Yorkers for not succumbing to fear. Likewise, hawkish Senator Joe Lieberman, who has tended to side with Republicans on national security issues, issued a statement yesterday saying, “More than anything, terrorists want to instill terror. They want to create a wide and broad sense of fear among ordinary people. The resilience shown by New Yorkers robs terrorists of that power.”

That was yesterday. Today, as in the aftermath of the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day, Republicans are eager to give that power back. With the Justice Department announcing the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born American citizen and Connecticut resident in connection with the failed plot, Republicans have returned to their usual script. Contrasting McConnell’s careful statement from yesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor complained that Americans really don’t live in the kind of perpetual panic that the threat of terrorism necessitates:

Cantor complained that the public “goes on heightened alert” after such incidents for “hours and days rather than permanently” and thatObama aides “tend to give these warnings due attention only in limited spurts.”

Senator John McCain, appearing on the Imus show, warned the administration against reading Shahzad, an American citizen, his Miranda rights:

“Obviously that would be a serious mistake until all the information is gathered,” McCain said during an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan [should be read his rights.]

Not content to be merely opposed to due process for foreigners accused of terrorism, McCain wants to deny American citizens their rights to due process as well. Indeed, McCain and Lieberman recently introduced a bill that would allow the government to hold U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge. Needless to say, things like Mirandization were non-issues for McCain during the Bush administration, when more than 403 convictions were secured through the civilian justice system.

In the meantime, MSNBC reports that the suspect “told neighbors he worked on Wall Street.” In which case, I can understand the panic! After all, Wall Street bankers have destroyed more of this country than any bomb.

Once again, conservatives see Muslim conspiracy in an administration logo.

 

If there was ever a need for our future generations to take education and science seriously, it will be when they see the videos of the crazed and uneducated declaring that a scientific logo looks like or implies some vast Muslim conspiracy from within the White House.

That logo that they claim is similar to the “star and crescent” is a freaking scientific representation of an orbiting electron.

This is so absurd, I didn’t want to include this as a post at all.  However, since the subtext of this blog is Sorting out the ‘crazies’…I decided that it’s actually quite apropos for this blog:

Think Progress:

Earlier this year, conservatives developed a conspiracy theory in which the Obama administration manipulated the redesign of the Missile Defense Agency to incorporate the Islamic crescent as part of a “submission to Shariah by President Obama and his team.” In fact, as Richard Lehner of the Missile Defense Agency told Fox News, the logo “was used prior to the 2008 election.” Now, the right-wing has worked itself into a fit over another Obama administration logo, this time claiming that the logo for Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit has the “kind of crescent moon you see on the flags of Muslim countries,” in the words of the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin. Goodwin’s argument has been echoed in the conservative blogosphere and, not surprisingly, was picked up by Fox News.

Watch it here.

Hey, Far Right GOP…Your Pants Are On Fire At Politifact!

 

Pants on Fire!

 Everything the right-wing does is designed to accomplish one of two things: either (a) transfer wealth from everyone else to the rich, or (b) distract everyone else from the fact that (a) is occurring. ~ Jack Clark (Blast the Right)

I was checking out Politifact today and ran across something VERY interesting.  They have a “Pants On Fire” section that deals with the greatest lies told by politicians and media pundits.  Well imagine my suprise when most of the “pants on fire” liars were GOPers!   I did see Charlie Rangel, The POTUS and a couple of other Dems on the list.  However, there is a 6-1 margin of GOPs over Dems.  Of course, I have concentrated on the outrageous GOP lies.  The links will lead you to all the people who lied so badly that they deserved the dubious honor of being told their pants were on fire by Politifact.

 Here’s a sampling:

Rush Limbaugh – “People “can’t go fishing anymore because of Obama.”    Politifact sets the record straight.   Obama isn’t confiscating rods and reels.

Americans for Prosperity – (fake grass roots organization) – “A government panel that didn’t include cancer specialists says women shouldn’t receive mammograms until age 50…If government takes over health care, recommendations like these could become the law for all kinds of diseases.”   Politifact explains correct facts…  Amendments assure mammogram coverage for women over 40.

Rep. Virginia Fox – “The economy began its nose dive when Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007.”     Politifact gets the facts right:   Is it a nose dive if it’s delayed by a full year?

Sen. Scott Brown -  The stimulus bill “didn’t create one new job.”  Fact…    Despite grim employment numbers, the stimulus has created jobs.

Nancy Pfotenhauer - The president’s health care proposals will cause “most Americans to have their premiums increased, not decreased, and hundreds of millions of people lose their current insurance coverage.”  Fact…  Pretending clarity while distorting.

Newt Gingrich – A recent Obama executive order could “lead to a number of investigations by Interpol in the United States, potentially aimed at American officials.”   Fact…  Interpol doesn’t work that way.

Rush Limbaugh – There are “high administrative costs” when you donate to Haiti relief through the White House Web site.  Politifact:  No, there’s no Pay Pal on White House site.

Rudy Guiliani - We had no domestic attacks under Bush.  Fact…  Did Rudy get amnesia?

Glenn Beck – “In the health care bill, we’re now offering insurance for dogs.”   Fact…  No public option for Bo.

Michele Bachmann - Page 92 of the House health care bill “says specifically that people can’t purchase private health insurance after a date certain.”    Fact…  She should read the other 1,989 pages.

Bloggers – Barack Obama wrote a thesis at Columbia University in which he criticized “plutocratic thugs” and said the Constitution gave Americans “the shackles of hypocrisy.”   Fact…  Ready, aim, fire!

Rush Limbaugh – “President Obama . . . wants to mandate circumcision.”   Fact…    No one’s mandating circumcision, including Obama.

Michael Steel – The Department of Veterans Affairs has “a manual out there telling our veterans stuff like, ‘Are you really of value to your community?’ You know, encouraging them to commit suicide.”  Fact…   The VA does not encourage suicide.

Orly Taitz – Birthers have obtained a copy of Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate.   Fact…  We take this stuff seriously, so you don’t have to.

Sarah Palin - Seniors and the disabled “will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”  Fact…  Sci fi scenario NOT based on reality.

Glenn Beck – John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population.”  Fact…  Holdren never endorsed these ideas.

Betsy McCaughey – The health care reform bill “would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.”   Fact…  No, the government isn’t going to kill granny.

Michele Bachmann – Says the Constitution only requires her to tell the census “how many people are in our home.”  Fact…  Bachmann’s claim is wrong and illegal!

Steve King - The federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act bill would create “special protection for pedophiles.”  Fact… No special protection for pedophiles.

Fox News, The GOP, Frank Luntz, et al, And The “Dumbing Down” Of America – An Analysis

 

If one were to connect the dots on why over 50% of Republicans believe that Barack Obama is a “usurper” and should be impeached; or why over 50% of Republicans feel that Barack Obama was not born in this country; or even why they believe the President is a racist, in my opinion, all roads lead to the GOP leadership and Fox news’ propaganda. 

 I recently wrote  about Fox News’ successful propaganda efforts to dumb down the American electorate, especially the ones who are faithful Fox News’ viewers.  So we’ve connected half the dots.  However, one has to ask, Fox News couldn’t do this alone.  They’d have to have the cooperation of the entire GOP leadership to pull this off.  Yes, they would have to and yes, they do have it.

Since Barack Obama’s election and subsequent swearing in as the 44th President of The United States, the GOP leadership and their lock step underlings have been determined to see ‘Obama fail’.   Rush Limbaugh’s declaration about wanting to see Obama fail was most likely sanctioned by the GOP leadership prior to Limbaugh’s now famous claim.  Health Care, Climate Change, Jobs Stimulus, whatever the Obama administration pushes forward, the GOP opposes.

For example:

The Republican position in the health care reform debate starts with directive number one: Must oppose everything Obama does! The problem is that Obama is proposing to reduce the cost of Medicare by discouraging wasteful procedures that don’t make people any healthier. Yes, he is reducing entitlement spending.  The GOP computer is getting confused:  Reduce entitlement spending! No, no, must oppose everything Obama does!

Must talk platitudes about small business! No, must fulfill prime directive and oppose Obama! The GOP computer, lacking a conscience, freely uses lies in support of its prime directive. Obama’s “Death Panel” will kill my baby! The computer’s subprocessors are comforted. Its control structure praises the “intellectual heft” of the new argument.

The Grassley processor agrees: Obama will “Decide When to Pull the Plug on Grandma”!  This of course overrules the processor’s own previous support for Medicare-covered end of life counseling.  I Support Death Panels! Life begins at conception and ends when you sign up for Medicare! No, not Death Panel. Yes, Obama will pull the plug on Grandma!

Getting confusing? This is when to tip-toe away from the computer while it contradicts itself with increasing speed. Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson called Sarah Palin “nuts” for saying end-of-life counseling is “Death Panels” since it was his idea. Barack Obama then credited Isakson for it, which kicked in awkward contortions and he remembered that he Must oppose Obama:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today denounced comments made by President Obama and his spokesman regarding Isakson’s alleged connection to language contained in the House health care bill on “end-of-life counseling.”

Oppose self if necessary! I wanted to kill my Grandma but now Obama wants to! Must oppose Obama! Of course, the GOP self-destruction will only crescendo when Barack Obama signs health care reform that does what both Democrats and Republicans want. Obama help taxpayers and small business and real Americans and Grandma! Platitudes non-functional! Does not compute! Does not compute!   Just make sure you aren’t watching the signing ceremony on Fox News – your TV might explode.

Teabaggers: It’s Not About The Numbers, It’s About The Insanity covers the insanity and hate associated with that movement toward Obama.

The crazies run the asylum does the same.

 Election, court ruling expose GOP hypocrisy

First, Scott Brown defiled the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. Republicans rejoiced that Brown’s election has broken the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority. Yet just a few years ago, when they were in power, the Republicans tried to eliminate the filibuster. Now, they gleefully anticipate using it. 

Then, the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court gave corporations the green light to spend their unlimited millions to buy elections as they please. Again, Republicans rejoiced.

Whatever happened to the Republican obsession against “activist judges?” If handing over our democracy to the corporations isn’t judicial activism, what is? Where the brown-shirt tactics of the Bush regime failed, this court decision may well succeed.

After eight years of being Bush’s party of destruction, Republicans now are the party of obstruction. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

So my point is, regardless of whether they have supported certain projects in the past, the GOP has made a concerted effort (in conjunction with Fox News) to “just say no” to anything the POTUS puts forth. 

This in turn has a circular effect in that it becomes news and most news organizations, especially cable news, give these naysayers a platform to perpetuate the myth and hypocrisy of GOP leadership.  The problem is that their lemming like followers, the same people who were polled, are most likely to believe every lie the GOP and Fox News tells,  in order to circulate the myth that Obama is a failure.

When Obama wins certain policy decisions, they yell and scream and claw their way onto the cameras to say it’s a disgrace.  They say that he failed miserably, etc.,etc. 

The national security issue with the Christmas Bomber is an example.  The administration did all the things they needed to, according to established law and precedent, and in return, got the man to give up “actionable intelligence”.  In that context, Rachel Maddow and even Andrea Mitchell try to show the lies that these people tell on a regular basis, just to push their own political agenda, which ultimately is…to make Barack Obama a one term president.  Senator Susan Collins R-Maine, is the liar du jour.

Finally, Frank Luntz.

Huffpo:

Nine months after he penned a memo laying out the arguments for health care legislation’s destruction, Republican message guru Frank Luntz has put together a playbook to help derail financial regulatory reform.

In a 17-page memo titled, “The Language of Financial Reform,” Luntz urged opponents of reform to frame the final product as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes, and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

“If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the bad decisions and harmful policies by Washington bureaucrats that in many ways led to the economic crash must never be repeated,” Luntz wrote. “This is your critical advantage. Washington’s incompetence is the common ground on which you can build support.”

Luntz continued: “Ordinarily, calling for a new government program ‘to protect consumers’ would be extraordinary popular. But these are not ordinary times. The American people are not just saying ‘no.’ They are saying ‘hell no’ to more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more legislation crafted by special interests.”

In Republican circles Luntz’s words, which have helped the party score win the message wars over health care and other legislative battles, are often treated as gospel. Already, some of the advice he’s offered on regulatory reform has found its way into the political discourse — with a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency seemingly on life support under Republican objections.        More>>>

Cenk Yugur of The Young Turks:

 

Wing Nuttery Roundup

From the people at Right Wing Watch:

Sen. Tom Coburn said the American people should be praying that a Senator couldn’t make it to cast a vote on health care reform, while a conservative blogger hopes that Sen. Robert Byrd dies.

Michael Steele says Democrats are “willing to basically flip the bird to the American people” in passing health care reform.

Rep. Bart Stupak’s office has been coordinating attacks on the Senate bill with Republicans and Religious Right groups.

Media Matters names Glenn Beck its “Misinformer of the Year.”

PolitiFact names Sarah Palin’s “death panels” claim it’s “Lie of the Year.”

 Rep. Bart Stupak’s office has been coordinating attacks on the Senate bill with Republicans and Religious Right groups.

Finally, congratulations to Good as You’s Jeremy Hooper and his husband Andrew Shulman for being the first same-sex couple to be featured in Martha Stewart Weddings.

Think Progress:  “Conservative of the Year”, Dick Cheney denies there have been any results from the stimulus.

The Daily Beast:    Steel’s speaking fees draw ire…

Huffington Post:  Lieberman: Obama never pressed me on Public Option

Oh, For Goodness Sake:   The Boy Toy in the dentist’s chair has his mouth wide open

Conservatives4Palin Blog Scrubs Incorrect Critique Of Obama

This one definately fits in the “batshittery” category.  It seems Conservatives 4 Palin decided that parts of  President Obama’s Nobel Prize Speech were lifted directly from Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue.  How the hell can these people really believe that the President would lift phrases from Palin’s pack of lies called a “book”?  The intelligence  quotient between the two is as wide as the Grand Canyon.  Needless to say the POTUS is on the highest end of the spectrum.

Oliver Willis:

Earlier today, Daniel Terrapin at Conservatives 4 Palin claimed that President Obama was cribbing notes from Sarah Palin

While reading President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, I was struck by how similar some of the sentiments he presented are to those in a certain best selling book I’ve recently read. In his speech, Obama stated:

I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

[...]

That post went down the memory hole (image here), I guess because this was a sentiment Obama has expressed for some time, and the charge that Obama copied from Palin is about as laughable as it gets. One example of this sentiment from Obama is this speech from 2006:

And in a world where evil lurks and terrorists plot, let it be said that we will conduct a smart foreign policy that matches the might of our military with the power of our diplomacy. And when we do go to war, let us always be honest with the American people about why we are there and how we will win.

Barack Obama isn’t copying Sarah Palin. Barack Obama is intelligent, thoughtful, and able to make executive decisions. In almost every way President Obama is the Anti-Palin.