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Friday, February 24, 2012

Does Rick Santorum Have Compulsive Lying Disorder?

By Brittany Olivarez  from Helping Psychology 
Compulsive lying, also called Mythomania, is a rather common symptom of mental illness. This disorder presents an acute challenge by its very nature because health care professionals cannot always tell if the patient is telling the truth with regard to symptoms. Compulsive or pathological liars are often so convincing that they consistently beat polygraph tests and convince themselves that their lies are the truth.
The Difference Between Habitual Lying and Mythomania
It is hard to separate these two cases, because some people engage in “white” lies to avoid hurting other’s feelings. The pathological liar, by contrast, cannot help lying, even when the lie cause’s harm. It is this aspect ofMythomania that distinguishes it as a form of illness, rather than a habit. Those who lie regularly and without compunction to achieve desired results may need to consider some form of therapy to change these habits.
Medical Treatment for Pathological Lying
Therapy is a common treatment option for Mythomania, accompanied by a professional diagnosis and evaluation to determine if other mental illnesses are also present. There are many cases where lying is a symptom of an underlying disease, rather than the disease itself, as it can be a manifestation of the delusions or psychosis that characterizes a serious mental illness. Pathological lying has not received formal validation as a stand alone disease by the majority of medical authorities.
The use of counseling and therapy to cure pathological liars often requires a lengthy course of treatment. The complex issues involved include self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, early life issues including physical or verbal abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and more.
Approaching a patient with a challenge, rather than trying to earn their trust, usually causes more problems than it solves when dealing with a person who has developed lying as a defense or coping mechanism. Like many illnesses that only come to light in advanced stages, patience, persistence and regular psychotherapy sessions will yield positive results when treating pathological liars.
Drawing upon more than 30 years of history of granting degrees in professional psychology, affordable universities have developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rick Santorum's Dangerous Agenda

From by Adele M. Stan February 22, 2012 

Agenda for the Dark Ages: GOP Frontrunner Rick Santorum's 5 Most Extremist Themes

If Santorum gets to bear the standard for the GOP, the party moves even further to the right. Here's a taste of what's on that plate.
It says quite a lot about the state of the Republican Party that the right-wing extremist Rick Santorum -- a politician so despised by his own Pennsylvania constituents that he lost his U.S. Senate seat by an 18-point margin -- is now the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. And not by a little, I might add -- by 10 points, according to that latest national tracking poll by Gallup.
As increasing numbers of people identify themselves as independent voters -- independent of the major political parties, that is -- the essence of the Republican Party has distilled into a toxic brew of resentment, prejudice, anti-intellectualism and misogyny. In truth, the party has been headed this way for a long time, but the election of Barack Obama -- a moderately liberal African American man with an African-Islamic name -- offered the perfect catalyst for the alchemists of the right to convert their everyday potion of pique into something far more fortified.
Enter Rick Santorum, a presidential candidate regarded as little more than a joke a mere month ago. Santorum presents himself as everything Obama is not, and represents the opposite of everything those anti-Obama right-wing tropes, the lies both whispered and shouted, purport the president to be. There are liberals who relish the possibility of a Santorum nomination; at the Daily Kos, founder Markos Moulitsas is urging liberals to vote for Santorum in open primaries, on the reasonably sound theory that Santorum is too crazy to win the presidency. Perhaps. 
"The longer this GOP primary drags on, the better the numbers for Team Blue," Markos writes. Fair enough, but is it good for America? If Santorum gets to bear the standard for the GOP, the party moves even further to the right from where it is now. Difficult to imagine, I know. But sooner or later the Republican Party wins big, when voters tire of the Democrats, or the Democrats screw up in a major way. And then, we'll all be ruled by the Santorum agenda, or something like it. Here's a taste of what's on that plate, based on Santorum's own extremist claims.
1. The end of the secular state. Santorum is a big proponent of the religious-right assertion, which he recently reiterated at the Conservative Political Action Conference, that the rights of American citizens come not from the U.S. Constitution or the laws of man, but from God. (To prove their point, they cite the Declaration of Independence, and the line that "men" are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.") Not just any God, mind you, but the authoritarian, patriarchal God of right-wing Christian theology. And Santorum has reserved for himself the role of theologian-in-chief, the arbiter of true religion, the messenger privy to the things God really wants -- and the things Satan really wants, which, according to a 2008 speech he delivered at Ave Maria University in Florida, is the demise of the United States.
Via Mediaite:
"This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war,” Santorum said, describing how American institutions and our nation’s way of life are falling to evil forces. “And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?"
At a February 18 campaign stop in Ohio, Santorum made the case that Obama is not a true Christian, that his overal agenda is based on "a phony theology." From Politico:
Slamming the president's agenda on a range of points, Santorum said the agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology."
On CBS News' "Face the Nation" the next day, Santorum said he was talking specifically about the president's environmental policy and, no, he didn't mean to suggest that Obama is a Muslim or anything like that. (Actually, he was suggesting that the president is an earth-worshipping pagan whose earth-worship is a path to growing the size of government.) Transcript from ThinkProgress:
When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.
Some, including me, heard in Santorum's original comments a dog-whistle to right-wingers intent on viewing Obama as a crypto-Muslim. But Political Animal's Ed Kilgore reminds us of Santorum's assertion in a 2008 speech that mainline Protestants (basically, Protestants from the major sects who are not part of the religious right) are not Christian, either. Whichever it is, Rick Santorum clearly reserves to himself the right to determine who is and isn't a Christian, a particularly outrageous claim by a presidential hopeful who asserts that rights are bestowed on humans by his idea of the Christian God. In the practical sense, then, a President Santorum would render himself as God.
2. The end of science. While it may be de rigueur for Republican candidates to deny the science of climate change, Santorum takes it a step further, claiming not just that humans make no contribution to changes in the climate, but implicitly arguing that in order to be a great nation, America needs its citizens to waste energy, especially through such greenhouse-gas producing products as gasoline-guzzling cars and incandescent lightbulbs. For starters, that will give a rationale for raping the U.S. environment through fracking -- of which he's a big fan, especially near population centers -- offshore drilling, and plundering the Alaskan wilderness.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Santorum made the point that, among the nations of the world, those that use the most energy have the highest standards of living. (It doesn't take a genius to accept that people who live in centrally heated and air-conditioned homes, and who have refrigerators and ovens that run on fuel other than dung probably have a higher standard of living than those who don't.) So, by Santorum's reasoning, that means we should step up the energy gluttony if we want an even higher standard of living. (If you can come up with some scientific reasoning for that conclusion, you deserve a very special prize.)
At Talk to Action, Rachel Tabachnick attributes Santorum's anti-green messianism to a strain of religious-right theology known as "Biblical economics," which, Tabachnick says, is " a world in which unregulated free markets are holy and the opposition is literally demonic."
But it doesn't end there. At the intersection of Santorum's anti-science stance and his misogyny stands his opposition to prenatal testing.
3. A return to patriarchy. The leaders of Rick Santorum's religion -- the Roman Catholic Church -- oppose abortion and birth control, and so does he. Combined with his opposition to science, the fact-free mind of the GOP frontrunner has transformed his personal religious beliefs to a contention that prenatal screenings of pregnant women and their fetuses are a bad thing, so he wants to end any requirement on health-insurance companies that they be covered. Via First Read:
"One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America," Santorum, a conservative Roman Catholic, told a Christian Alliance luncheon in Columbus. "Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare — another hidden message as to what president Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country." 
"That ugly meme is completely made up," writes health expert Harold Pollack at the Reality-Based Community. "By any reasonable measure, the proliferation of genetic diagnostic technologies coincides with great progress in public acceptance and support for people with disabilities."
And those technologies actually save fetuses with anomalies, allowing pregnant women to have healthy babies because their pregnancies were monitored. One case in point is the daughter of writer Sarah Fister Gale, whose rH blood disease was discovered while she was still in the womb, by the use of amniocentesis, which Santorum claims, "does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions." He added, "That is a fact."
Actually, it's not. Here's Gale, writing at Salon:
If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and she most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong.
(Meanwhile, at the Nation, Ben Adler details Santorum's opposition to programs on which disabled people depend.) Yet Santorum talks constantly on the stump about his seventh child, Bella, who was born with a brutal chromosomic disorder.
The truth is, Santorum will use any rationale that suits him to deny women any kind of reproductive healthcare that informs their decision-making process, whether the decision is about getting pregnant or whether to bring a fetus to term. When arguing the merits of his so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban, a law enacted in 2003 to ban a particular abortion procedure, Santorum claimed that the procedure was used to abort fetuses that were not deformed or disabled in any way. But on "Face the Nation," as Slate's Will Saletan points out, Santorum claimed just the opposite, saying the procedure had been primarily used to abort fetuses that, if brought to term, would become disabled children. 
Then there's birth control, which Santorum told a right-wing Iowa blogger at Caffeinated Thoughts, is "not okay" because it takes the procreation out of sex. In fairness to Santorum, he does say that, as a matter of public policy, he would not try to outlaw contraception: he just wants to make it harder for you to get (especially if you work for a business that is owned by a church-affiliated institution).
Like the other Republican presidential candidates, Santorum says the Obama administration's mandate that health insurance provided by employers must cover prescription contraception (and with no co-pay) is a violation of the religious freedom of employers whose consciences, like Santorum's, are offended by the very notion of birth control. But what makes Santorum unique is a novel interpretation of what health insurance is meant to do, which is not, according to the candidate, to pay for things that only "cost a few dollars." Which brings me back to the notion that Santorum will use whatever rationale he finds necessary to deprive women of the full range of reproductive healthcare. He has not voiced similar concerns, for instance, over having insurance plans pay for low-cost generic antibiotics, or Tylenol-with-codeine pills.
4. The fostering of ignorance. Although his wife home-schools their own children, Rick Santorum isn't completely against public education. He just wants to starve it. At an Ohio campaign stop, Santorum hailed the fact that most of the early U.S. presidents "home-schooled" their children (he neglected the mention of any tutors), adding, according to the New York Times
"Where did they come up that public education and bigger education bureaucracies was the rule in America? Parents educated their children, because it’s their responsibility to educate their children."
Which is great for parents who don't want their kids to learn actual science or facts. (The mind boggles to consider what the Santorum children are learning in science class at the kitchen table.) The Times goes on to note that federal government, which Santorum would cut out of the education process, contributes 11 percent of most schools' budgets, and is targeted for the enforcements of standards which would, of course, include the teaching of science. Meanwhile, the United States lags behind most of the industrialized world in turning out scientists and engineers.
5. The demonization of everybody but white, heterosexual, right-wing Christian males. In Rick Santorum's mind, everybody who is not like him is some form of demon: Obama is like Hitler, gay people are like beastialists, women who have sex for pleasure are licentious, working mothers take the easy way out, single mothers are welfare queens, undocumented immigrants are thieves, black people are lazy and Muslims are bloodthirsty infidels.
At a February 19 campaign stop in Georgia, Santorum compared the 2012 presidential election to World War II, when the U.S. initially stood by as Britain was showered with Nazi bombs. Via The Raw Story
"Why? Because we’re a hopeful people. We think, 'You know it will get better. Yeah, I mean, he’s a nice guy. It won’t be near as bad as what we think. You know, this will be OK. You know, maybe he’s not the best guy.' After a while, you found out some things about this guy over in Europe and maybe he’s not so good of a guy after all. But you know what? 'Why do we need to be involved? We’ll just take care of our own problems, just get our families off to work and our kids off to school and we’ll be okay.'"
Santorum later denied he was comparing Obama to Hitler, but it's hard to come away with any other conclusion. Santorum also denied he was talking about black people when he was quoted as saying, at an Iowa campaign stop in January, "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money." (He laughably claimed three days later that he said "blah" people, not "black" people.)
Of working women, Santorum wrote in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, that they find it easier and "more socially affirming" to keep up their careers than to "stay home and take care of their children." In other words, women who work outside the home are not taking care of their children.
Single mothers often refuse to marry their partners, Santorum told Fox News in December, so they can collect welfare
And of women who use birth control in order to have sex for (horrors) pleasure, Santorum told Caffeinated Thoughts: "[Contraception is] not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."  And while Santorum disavowed the comments of his sugar daddy, billionaire Foster Freiss, who suggest that women just clamp their knees together as a means of birth control, there have been no reports that he's stopped taking the old sexist's money.
Immigrants fare no better under Santorum's gaze. Undocumented workers aren't just people who came to the U.S. because they wanted to feed their families, Santorum said in a January debate: they're thieves, and should be sent home, even if it means separating parents from their children. Via ThinkProgress:
"I understand Congressman Gingrich saying, ‘Well, you know, people have been here and they’ve been good citizens and paying taxes.’ Yeah, under somebody else’s Social Security number because you stole it."
Then there are the Muslims, about whom Santorum has a phantasmagorical imagination. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month, the former Pennsylvania senator suggested that the U.S. should bomb Iran -- not simply because of the allegation that the Muslim nation is building a nuclear bomb, but because the bomb-building is all part of a Shi'ite plan to bring about the apocalypse to pave the way for the return of a messianic figure known as the Mahdi. Lost on Santorum was the irony that in several corners of the religious right, support for an aggressive Israel is based on just such a scenario, designed to pave the way for the second coming of Jesus.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention Santorum's jihad against LGBT people. Suffice it to say, "man on dog."
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington correspondent. Follow her on

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Could Rick Santorum Really Be The Anti-Christ?

Could this paranoid psychopath be the Anti-Christ? Is he trying to stir the American Fringe Fanatics into a frenzy of fear and frothing hatred? More than likely. 

Rick Santorum Defends Satan Comments

Rick Santorum is making no effort to distance himself from his 2008 remarks about Satan attacking America.
Last week Right Wing Watch dug up a speech Santorum made while McCain and Obama were campaigning. Listen below, and here are some sound bites:
"Satan has his sights on the United States of America!"
"Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition."
"This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country - the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age? There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost 200 years, once America’s preeminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers.”
Santorum defended his comments a rally in Phoenix Tuesday evening, saying that it's "absurd" they resurfaced on the Drudge Report earlier that day.
“Its a joke, its absurd," he said, according to Politico. "You know, if a person I‘m a person of faith. I believe in good and evil. I think if somehow or another because you’re a person of faith you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president."
When pressed about whether he believes the country is under attack by Satan, he said:
"You guys are asking questions that are not relevant to what's being discussed in America today. What we're talking about in America is trying to get America working, that's what my speeches are about, that's what we're going to talk about in this campaign. If they want to to dig up old speeches when I'm talking to a religious group, they can go right ahead and do so but I'm going to stay on message, I'm going to talk about what Americans want to talk about, which is creating jobs, getting our country safer and secure and yeah, taking on the forces around this world who want to do harm to America. You bet I will take 'em on."
During the same appearance, Santorum mocked Obama as a "rock star" that people "believed could solve their problems" back in 2008.
The former Pennsylvania senator made waves last week when he said Obama subscribes to "some phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible." Later he insisted he was attacking the president's worldview, not his faith, and believes he is Christian.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is a Romney surrogate, criticized Santorum's defense of the Satan comments on "Good Morning America" Wednesday.
"Listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant," Christie said. "It is by definition relevant. You’re asking to be president of the United States. I don’t think [Santorum's] right about that. I think it is relevant what he says. I think people want to make an evaluation, a complete evaluation of anyone who asks to sit in the Oval Office."
Sarah Palin defended Santorum's comments on FOX News, blaming the "lame-stream media" for getting "all wee-weed up."
"They will attack any conservatives who boldly proclaims their faith and talks about there is good in the world and there's evil in the world and that's what Rick Santorum was talking about," she said. "And this was a speech that he gave back in 2008, where he named evil as Satan. And for these lame-stream media characters to get all wee-weed up about that, first you have to ask yourself, 'Have they ever attended a Sunday school class even? Have they never heard of this terminology before?' And that's why they got so, you know, just whacked out about the speech."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is Rick Santorum A Paranoid Psychopath? YES!!!!!

by Dana Milbank from the Washington Post

"Rick Santorum Cries Nazi"

Rick Santorum sees Nazis everywhere: in the Middle East, in doctor’s offices and medical labs, in the Democratic Party, and now in the White House.
The Republican presidential candidate told a group of supporters Sunday night that this year’s election was like the time between 1940 and 1941 when Americans didn’t act against Adolf Hitler because they thought he was “a nice guy” and not “near as bad as what we think.”
“It’s going to be harder for this generation to figure this out. There’s no cataclysmic event,” he explained, but similar urgency. “Is anybody reminding us who we are, what made us great, and what these assaults are all about?”
The obvious implication — later denied by the candidate — was that Santorum is some modern-day Churchill and President Obama is der Fuhrer. It was outrageous and yet, for Santorum, routine.
Six years ago, in his losing bid for reelection to the Senate from Pennsylvania, Santorum had a remarkably similar take on the stakes. “If we are not successful here and things don’t go right in the election, there’s a good chance that the course of our country could change,” he said, according to an account in the Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News. “We are in the equivalent of the late 1930s, and this election will decide whether we are going to continue to appease or whether we will stand and fight while we have a chance to win without devastating consequences.”
His opponent, Democrat Bob Casey, won the election, and yet the country somehow did not fall to the brownshirts.
In explaining why his remark over the weekend wasn’t linking Obama to Hitler, Santorum said that “the World War II metaphor is one I’ve used a hundred times.” This is not an exaggeration — and that’s Santorum’s problem.
Nazi comparisons are the most extreme form of political speech; once one ties his political opponents to the most deplorable chapter in human history, all reasoned argument ceases.
Yet this is where Santorum exists, in a place of binary extremes of good and evil, where his political foe isn’t just wrong but adheres to a “phony theology” not found in the Bible. His frequent tendency to go from zero to Nazi over ordinary political disagreements is typical of the emotional appeal he has to conservative primary voters, but it also shows why he’s outside the bounds major political parties have applied to their past presidential nominees.
Some of Santorum’s opponents have suggested that his Hitler tic reflects his own autocratic tendencies; his opponent’s campaign manager in 2006 called Santorum “one notch below a Nazi.” But while Santorum favors more coercive government — one that could, for example, ban birth-control pills — he isn’t a Nazi. He worked against anti-Semitism in the Senate and tried to get a German physician prosecuted for Nazi war crimes. The problem is Santorum is such a stranger to democratic give-and-take that he thinks it’s okay to label everybody else as Nazis.
His most famous episode came in 2005, when Democrats criticized Senate Republicans for threatening to do away with the filibuster. “The audacity of some members to stand up and say, ‘How dare you break this rule?’ — it’s the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, ‘I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It’s mine.’ ”
That same year, Santorum published a book, “It Takes a Family,” in which he tied fetal genetic testing, evolution theory and embryonic stem-cell research to Nazism. He quoted with approval the view that diagnosing and aborting fetuses with genetic malformations “can be considered an earlier phase” of the “German negative eugenics movement.”
Of the Darwinian view of a “purposeless universe,” Santorum wrote that “the Nazis built their pseudoethics with its grim logic on precisely this Nietzschean cosmological view.” Embryonic stem-cell research, he added, makes him “wonder if we have merely been momentarily delayed in our slide” toward the Nazi ethics.
In his unsuccessful 2006 campaign, he often invoked Churchill’s “gathering storm” phrase and compared Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler. He also called for more active use of the term “Islamic fascism.” Last year, Santorum warned that if the Muslim Brotherhood prevails in Egyptian elections, it would be like the Nazis winning in 1933: “That was the last democratic election.”
When used on Ahmadinejad or the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nazi talk is provocative, but defensible. When used on an American president and a rival political party, it shows an alarming lack of perspective.

More From Rick Insantorum:

Santorum Compares Democrats Use Of Filibuster To Hitler:

Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Democrats have abused the filibuster.

"The audacity of some members to stand up and say 'How dare you break this rule,'" Santorum said on the Senate floor Thursday.

"It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' "

Yeah Santorum, an all those blacks who said "how dare you say the N word and raise the confederate flag" were just communist sympathizers. What the hell are we doing allowing this prick to talk to use this way. I would take him out back and beat him within an inch of his life, but he's now worth going to jail over. I WANT A CAMPAIGN AGAINST SANTORUM TO SMEAR HIM AND TO END HIS CARRER NEXT YEAR. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS QUOTE? SEND IT TO THE MSM, I KNOW THEY WON'T CARE, BUT JESUS JUST READ THIS IGNORANT BASTARDS WORDS.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Super PAC

Occupy Wall Street Super PAC: Activist Looks To Form Political Action Committee

One Occupy Wall Street activist wants to put the protest's money where its mouth is.
John Paul Thornton, a member of the Occupy Alabama movement, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form the Occupy Wall Street Political Action CommitteeMother Jones reports. But Thornton's group probably won't get a boost from the Occupy leadership. Occupy Wall Street spokesman Karanja Gacuca told MoJo that if it ever were to come to a vote it's unlikely Thornton's move would be approved at by the movement's General Assembly.
Thornton said he was inspired to file the papers after watching comedian Stephen Colbert discuss his super pac on his TV show. Colbert’s organization, called Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow has raised $815,000, according to Politico.
SuperPACs -- the category of fundraising group that Colbert's and Thornton's groups fall under -- have been a flash point for controversy during the campaign season. There's no limit on the amount of money they can collect from an individual donor or the amount of cash they can spend campaigning, but they can't coordinate directly with any candidates.
Super PACs advocating for Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have poured millions into buying ad space on Michigan's airwaves ahead of the state's primary on February 28, according to MSNBC. President Obama came under fire earlier this month after he reversed his stance on super PACs, dropping his opposition to the organizations.
That could be because the groups are so popular. More than 300 organizations have filed papers with the FEC to become super PACs since 2010 court decisions paved the way for their creation, according to The Hill.
The concern that Super PACs will boost the influence of money in politics, likely hasn't fallen deaf on the Occupy movement's ears. Demonstrators marched in New York City and in Washington, D.C. late last year to protest against pricey fundraisers hosted by the Obama campaign.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The GOP -- An Enemy of the People

Here is a piece by explains just another reason why this is true. The GOP continues to show how much they hate Democracy.

Legislators Who Sign the Anti-Tax "Norquist Pledge" Are Enemies of the People and the Constitution

by: William B. Daniels, Truthout | Op-Ed
A recent lawsuit mounted by former UCLA chancellor Charles Young and former Ninth Circuit Appellate Justice William A. Norris brings renewed attention to California's 30-year-old Proposition 13.
The Norris/Young suit claims that Proposition 13, requiring a two-thirds vote of both houses of the California Legislature to increase taxes, is unconstitutional. The suit argues that Proposition 13 was a revision of the California Constitution, not a mere amendment.
Revisions are changes that fundamentally alter the structure of government, whereas amendments are just additions. Proposition 13 altered the government's constitutional authority to raise public funds. To be a valid revision, Proposition 13 would have had to pass with a supermajority in both houses of the California Legislature, and with a majority vote of the people. Because Proposition 13 received only a majority vote of the people, it must be stricken.
The Norris/Young lawsuit, along with a November 2011 statement by Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) that Grover Norquist, as the "thirteenth member" of the bipartisan supercommittee on fiscal reform, was responsible for its failure, raise two questions:  Have Norquist pledge signers violated federal and state criminal laws? and, What is the connection between Proposition 13 and Norquist pledge signers in the California Legislature?
In the 112th Congress of the United States, 235 members of the House of Representatives and 41 members of the Senate have signed the pledge created by Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge states :
I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Norquist and his organization give political support to candidates who make the pledge and work to defeat candidates who do not. To assume office and be paid a salary, members of Congress must take an oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
The Constitution of the United States, to which signers swear their true faith and allegiance, provides, in Article I, Section 8:
The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and General Welfare of the United States ...
The Sixteenth Amendment says:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived ... 
The preemptive and unconditional pledge to Norquist by each signer is a knowing and willful repudiation of Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution and the Sixteenth Amendment. The pledge to Norquist makes signers' oath of office to uphold the Constitution a fraud on the Congress and the American people. It is also a probable violation of federal criminal law. 
Title 18, Section 1001, of the United States Code says that whoever willfully makes any false statement or representation in any matter coming within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch of the government of the United States shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than five years. Section 1001 specifically applies to claims for payment of money submitted to Congress. Accordingly, by fraudulent oath of office, Norquist signers claim Congressional salaries in violation of Section 1001. 
Norquist signers in the California Legislature pledge that they will "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." To assume office and be paid a salary, they must swear an oath to uphold both the federal and state constitutions. But the California Constitution says, in Article 13, Section 31:
The power to tax may not be surrendered or suspended by grant or contract.
In view of their pledge to Americans for Tax Reform, signers make a false oath of office, because they have surrendered their power to tax to Norquist, in violation of Section 31. The California Government Code makes each Norquist signer's false oath of office an act of perjury, punishable by imprisonment for two, three, or five years.
Considering the party composition of the California Legislature, the close connection between the Norquist pledge signers and Proposition 13's requirement of a two-thirds majority in both houses to increase taxes becomes clear. The California Senate is composed of 40 members, 15 of whom are Republicans and signers of the Norquist pledge. The California Assembly has 80 members, 28 of whom are Republicans, 25 of whom have signed the pledge. Norquist controls 37 percent of the Senate and 31 percent of the Assembly.
With Norquist pledge signers in place, the two-thirds supermajority required to raise taxes can never be achieved. Under the requirements of Proposition 13, Norquist controls the revenue lifeblood of the California republic. He is the unelected, dictatorial member of the California Legislature. He is the reason there are annual budget crises in Sacramento. He is the cause of the crumbling infrastructure of California. He and his signers have starved public safety services and educational opportunities for Californians. 
If the Norris/Young lawsuit succeeds in removing the Proposition 13 supermajority rule, the State of California can once again exercise its constitutional authority to raise revenues for the public good, to restore infrastructure, public safety services and educational opportunities for Californians. In the meantime, the voters should remove the Norquist signers from office, because they are the enemies of constitutions and the people.
William B. Daniels is an attorney and mediator practicing in Monterey County, California.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Occupy Movement Regroups, Preparing for Its Next Phase

The ragtag Occupy Wall Street encampments that sprang up in scores of cities last fall, thrusting “We are the 99 percent” into the vernacular, have largely been dismantled, with a new wave of crackdowns and evictions in the past week. Since the violent clashes last month in Oakland, Calif., headlines about Occupy have dwindled, too. Far from dissipating, groups around the country say they are preparing for a new phase of larger marches and strikes this spring that they hope will rebuild momentum and cast an even brighter glare on inequality and corporate greed. But this transition is filled with potential pitfalls and uncertainties: without the visible camps or clear goals, can Occupy become a lasting force for change? Will disruptive protests do more to galvanize or alienate the public?

Though still loosely organized, the movement is putting down roots in many cities. Activists in Chicago and Des Moines have rented offices, a significant change for groups accustomed to holding open-air assemblies or huddling in tents in bad weather.
On any night in New York City, which remains a hub of the movement, a dozen working groups on issues like “food justice” and “arts and culture” meet in a Wall Street atrium, and “general assemblies” have formed in 14 neighborhoods. Around the country, small demonstrations — often focused on banks and ending foreclosure evictions — take place almost daily.
If the movement has not produced public leaders, some visible faces have emerged.
“I’m finally going to make it to the dentist next week,” said Dorli Rainey, a Seattle activist. “I’ve had to cancel so many times. It’s overwhelming.”
Ms. Rainey, who is 85 and was pepper-sprayed by the police in November, has been fully booked for months. On a recent Thursday, she joined 10 people in Olympia, Wash., who were supporting a State Senate resolution to remove American soldiers from Afghanistan. She led a rally near Pike Place Market against steam incinerators, which the protesters complain release pollution in the downtown area. In March, she plans to join Occupy leaders in Washington for events that are still being planned.
“People have different goals,” Ms. Rainey said. “Mine is, we’ve got to build a movement that will replace the type of government we have now.”
Jumping on a proposal from Portland, Ore., groups in 34 cities have agreed to “a day of nonviolent direct action” on Feb. 29 against corporations accused of working against the public interest. Then on May 1, they will try to persuade thousands of Americans who share their belief that the system is rigged against the poor and the middle class to skip work and school, in what they are calling “a general strike” — or “a day without the 99 percent.”
“Inspiring more people to get angry and involved is the top priority,” said Bill Dobbs, a member of the press committee of Occupy Wall Street and a veteran of the Act Up campaign for people with H.I.V. and AIDS. He added that people could “take action on whatever issue is important to them, whether economic justice, the environment or peace.”
But some experts who credit Occupy’s achievements to date wonder if the earnest activists will overplay their hand. Some question how many people will heed a call to stay home from work on May 1, especially since labor unions, which have generally supported Occupy’s message, say they will not strike for the day. And beyond that, Occupy’s utopian calls for democracy and justice may be drowned out by the presidential campaign.
“They’ve gotten the people’s attention, and now they have to say something more specific,” said William A. Galston, a senior fellow and an expert on political strategy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Average Americans want solutions, not demonstrations, and their patience for the latter won’t last indefinitely.”
Some of Occupy’s dilemmas are those of any emerging movement. “Some of the stuff you do to get attention often puts off your audience,” said David S. Meyer, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies social movements. “It’s a delicate balance, being provocative enough to get attention and still draw sympathy.”
The issue has been posed most starkly in Oakland, where a militant faction is openly courting conflict with a hostile police department, undermining public support and leading to sharp ideological divides. Some activists have formed separate groups dedicated to nonviolent methods, though tensions are not as acute elsewhere. Crimes reported in some of the camps in the fall also discredited the movement in the eyes of its critics.
But without question, the unfurling of sleeping bags by a few dozen people near Wall Street on Sept. 17 struck a national chord. “In three months, this movement succeeded in shifting political discourse more than labor had been able to accomplish with years of lobbying and electoral campaigns,” said Robert Master, the Northeast political director for the Communications Workers of America, which represents more than half a million telecommunications workers.
“I think there are going to be tremendous opportunities for labor and the Occupy movement to work together,” Mr. Master said. “We have different roles— as labor we are much more embedded in mainstream politics. But we understand that without the pressure of more radical direct-action tactics, the debate in this country won’t change substantially.”

Though President Obama has not publicly embraced the Occupy movement, its fingerprints are evident in his increased focus on economic fairness.
Mr. Galston, the political expert in Washington, said the movement’s success in making inequality more visible “could have an impact down the road on campaigns and elections and agendas.” But he also said that “to this day, the movement has never crystallized its ideas into an agenda.”
So far, home foreclosures are the most consistent target. Groups in Minneapolis are currently camped in homes facing foreclosure. In Atlanta, they take credit for using this method to save the house of an Iraq war veteran, pressing the bank to offer her refinancing after it had already set a date for eviction.
In Providence, R.I., protesters made a deal with the city, agreeing to abandon their camp peacefully this month in return for the city’s opening of a new day center for the homeless.
But many in the movement appear to be pinning their biggest hopes on the nationwide protests planned for the spring and summer. To foster personal ties, Occupy Wall Street veterans, mainly from New York, embarked on a five-week bus tour of a dozen Northeast cities to exchange ideas on protest goals and methods and to hold training sessions with other Occupy groups.
“Without the camps, we’re in a bit of a lull,” Austin Guest, 31, said in New York. He is one of the many younger men and women who have given over their lives to Occupy, often sleeping on sofas and scraping by with donated food or part-time jobs. The actions planned for the spring “will be more substantial and a much greater threat,” he said.
On a recent Saturday evening, some 50 volunteers met in a Greenwich Village church to discuss May Day activities for the city. The group included a mix of ages and races, with graduate students, teachers, older labor veterans and some full-time activists.
In the style of the Occupy movement, it operated with a requirement of consensus. A person designated as the “stack taker” directed the order of speakers and people wiggled or “twinkled” their fingers in the air to show agreement. They discussed a possible schedule of protests for May Day: disrupting commerce that morning, perhaps, and then joining an immigrant rights demonstration at midday and staging a march in the evening.
“Is this O.K.?” the designated facilitator politely asked every few minutes as he moved along the agenda. “Does anyone object?”
A danger for a movement like this, driven by a committed core group with strong views, is political marginalization, said Todd Gitlin, an expert on social movements at Columbia University. Mr. Gitlin, whose book “Occupy Nation” will be published electronically by HarperCollins in April, said, “You can be big but still isolated,” which he said was what happened to the radical antiwar movement he joined in the 1960s.
Another challenge will be sustaining public anger if the economy continues to show signs of recovery and unemployment falls. Jessica Reznicek, 30, a protester from Des Moines, said the economy in Iowa “is much stronger” than in other places, adding, “there’s not the level of escalation here.” After five demonstration-related arrests in recent weeks, she is taking a step back and refocusing on specific efforts, like challenging companies that make genetically modified crops.
But deeper concerns about inequality are not likely to disappear, said Damon A. Silvers, policy director for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., nor is the widely shared desire “for the economy to be run for the interests of the majority, not a tiny wealthy minority.”
“Whether the individuals in Occupy Wall Street and their organization turn out to be the center of this sentiment in the next year, I don’t know,” Mr. Silvers said. “But that sentiment will be a powerful force in our country, and the Occupy movement deserves credit for that.”