Reaganomics killed America’s middle class – Salon.com

There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class.Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.At the top there is a very small class of superrich. Below them, there is a slightly larger, but still very small, “middle” class of professionals and mercantilists – doctor, lawyers, shop-owners – who help keep things running for the superrich and supply the working poor with their needs. And at the very bottom there is the great mass of people – typically over 90 percent of the population – who make up the working poor. They have no wealth – in fact they’re typically in debt most of their lives – and can barely survive on what little money they make.So, for average working people, there is no such thing as a middle class in “normal” capitalism. Wealth accumulates at the very top among the elites, not among everyday working people. Inequality is the default option.

via Reaganomics killed America’s middle class – Salon.com.

Evidence of GOP Interference in VW Election Is Now Overwhelming

Last week’s disclosure by respected Tennessee journalist Phil Williams concerning Republican dirty tricks in the Chattanooga union election demonstrates beyond any doubt that the GOP committed grand theft at Volkswagen. The confidential documents obtained by Williams show that Governor Bill Haslam offered Volkswagen $300 million contingent on the outcome of the election, and that Sen. Bob Corker’s chief of staff coordinated anti-UAW messaging with Tennessee Republicans and anti-union groups. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) must restore democracy and overturn the flawed election.

The evidence of external interference with workers’ choice is as follows:

via Evidence of GOP Interference in VW Election Is Now Overwhelming.

A Heckler Threw a Shoe At Hillary Clinton. She Dodged It. Here’s the Video. | Mother Jones

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton gave a speech before a meeting of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just after taking the stage, an as-yet unnamed woman rose from the crowd and threw something at her. Thankfully, Clinton was unharmed, ducking and joking, “Was that a bat?…Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil? My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial. Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did.”

via A Heckler Threw a Shoe At Hillary Clinton. She Dodged It. Here's the Video. | Mother Jones.

The bizarre double life of conservative congressional hopeful Jake Rush – SaintPetersBlog

Running for the U.S. Congress can be the role of a lifetime for a budding politician, which would seem on the surface to fit right in with “conservative” Republican candidate Jacob A. Rush.

Rush, a 35-year-old attorney who just launched a campaign in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, knows a thing or two about role-playing.

The former Alachua County sheriff’s deputy announced on March 20 that he would join the GOP primary race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, the first-term Tea Party favorite from Gainesville.

Conservative Straight Shooter

“Voters in North Central Florida are tired of being disappointed and embarrassed by their congressman,” according to a prepared statement announcing Rush’s candidacy.

On Rush’s campaign website is a well-produced, professional video, portraying the candidate as the ultimate “conservative straight shooter,” ready to fight for “we the people.”

The video certainly hits all the right marks by featuring a series of heartwarming and inspiring images: Rush placing his hand on a Bible, as a father of a newborn, even initiating a group of enthusiastic schoolchildren on the values of the U.S. Constitution.

Jake Rush, Under the Surface

What the slick video does not mention is that Rush – as “Chazz Darling,” “Staas van der Winst” and a host of other roles – was a long-time member of the Mind’s Eye Society, otherwise known as “Camarilla.”

via The bizarre double life of conservative congressional hopeful Jake Rush – SaintPetersBlog.

Ryan Introduces Budget He Says Will Eliminate Deficit, Spins more Lies and Fantasies

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced “a tough, election-year budget that purports to come into balance by 2024, in large part through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps and the full repeal of President Obama’s health care law, just as millions begin to see its benefits,” the New York Times reports.

“But even with those cuts, Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is counting on a boost of economic growth to balance the budget, a boost he says will be gained by reducing the deficit. Many economists believe such dramatic spending cuts — especially those affecting the poor — would have the opposite effect, slowing the economy and lowering tax receipts.”

Wall Street Journal: “Building in assumptions about economic growth is a controversial part of budget math, and Mr. Ryan didn’t include the same assumptions in prior proposals. This sort of analysis is popular with Republicans, who often cite it in proposals to cut taxes.”

via Ryan Introduces Budget He Says Will Eliminate Deficit.

Students protest ‘war criminal’ Cheney at American University | MSNBC

More than two dozen students protested a talk by former Vice President Dick Cheney at American University, and a handful of them called him a “war criminal” as they stormed out.

A video from the March 27 event shows students walking out on Cheney, and one can be heard yelling, “Walk out on war criminals.” The speech was hosted by The Kennedy Political Union. The school’s newspaper, The Eagle, reported that Cheney denied that his actions while in office amounted to war crimes.

Cheney was one of the most vocal supporters of the George W. Bush administration policies after September 11, including waterboarding, placing detainees in stress positions, and other practices that are sometimes referred to as “enhanced interrogation” tactics.

“Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture,” Cheney told ATV, a student-run television station. He argued that because the 1949 Geneva Convention, which prohibits cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, does not apply to those deemed unlawful combatants, men deemed terrorists by the U.S.  could be waterboarded legally.

via Students protest 'war criminal' Cheney at American University | MSNBC.

Violence against U.S. homeless on the rise | Al Jazeera America

Despite a decrease in the U.S. homeless population, new research by an advocacy group for the homeless indicates an alarming increase in violent crimes targeting those living on the streets.

In 2013, homeless Americans experienced a 23 percent increase in violence compared with the year before, according to preliminary figures by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). The U.S. homeless population declined over the same period, with 610,000 people going without shelter on any given day in 2013 — 20,000 fewer than in 2012.

The homeless “are targeted solely because of their circumstances,” coalition director Jerry Jones told Al Jazeera. “People who are in shelters and marginalized are often preyed upon.”

Because the NCH bases its research on reported crimes covered in news media, the actual number of violent attacks targeting the homeless may be much higher, since many go unreported.

via Violence against U.S. homeless on the rise | Al Jazeera America.

New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States – NYTimes.com

CINCINNATI — Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls.

The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote.

Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.

via New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States – NYTimes.com.

Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine, White House Says – NYTimes.com

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called President Obama on Friday to discuss a proposal by Mr. Obama for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed that their chief diplomats should meet soon to explore it, the White House and Kremlin said.

In a statement from the White House, officials said that the telephone call from the Russian president followed a proposal presented by Secretary of State John Kerry to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, during talks at the Hague earlier this week.

While there was no immediate indication that either side was prepared to give ground, Mr. Putin’s telephone call in itself appeared to represent a shift in tone aimed at defusing a serious rupture in relations and Russia’s increasing isolation.

via Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine, White House Says – NYTimes.com.