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11/8/2012

RACHEL’S REALITY CHECK FOR REPUBLICANS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Rachel Maddow, GOP — Peg Britton @ 8:50 am

Rachel’s reality check for Republicans…

5/24/2012

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS’ NEW TAX PLAN…”IT’S NOT GOOD PUBLIC POLICY”

Filed under: political musings, Sam Brownback, Rachel Maddow, GOP — Peg Britton @ 11:26 am

What’s the matter with Kansas’ new tax plan
By Steve Benen
From The Maddow Blog -
Thu May 24, 2012 10:51 AM EDT

Associated Press

To get a good look at the kind of budget policies we might see at the federal level in 2013, take a look at what happened in Kansas in 2012.

Andrew Leonard had this recent piece on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) new tax policy: “Here’s how it works when conservatives control everything: The wealthy get coddled and the poor get a bum’s rush.”

[Conservative policymakers] agreed on a new tax plan that will sharply cut income taxes for wealthy state residents while at the same time raising taxes on the poor. The result, predictably, will be a shortfall in state revenue that will undoubtedly force additional cuts to state services.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides the analysis, but you don’t have to trust the left-leaning think tank for the spin. A newly formed group of retired Kansas Republican legislators are also declaring that enough is enough. The bottom line is this: If you’re wealthy enough and smart enough to structure your business affairs correctly, you can avoid both corporate taxes and income taxes. But if you’re poor, you will have to choose between whether you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or a state-funded rebate on sales taxes charged on groceries. One or the other! Not both! Because if there is a tax loophole that favors working-class Americans, we’d better close it!

Brownback signed the tax policy into law on Tuesday, over the objections of some moderate Republicans who balked at more tax breaks for the wealthy, paid for through cuts to education and social services.

State Sen. Steve Morris (R), president of the Kansas Senate, said, “It is not good public policy.”

Brownback, who brought on Arthur Laffer, of all people, as a tax advisor, doesn’t much care.

Don’t be too surprised if we see a very similar situation play out in 2013 if there’s a conservative Republican White House working with a conservative Republican Congress.

5/3/2012

DRIFT BY RACHEL MADDOW…STORIES ABOUT AMERICA’S MILITARY MEDDLING AND MUDDLING SINCE WWII…

Filed under: prairie musings, Rachel Maddow, BOOKS — Peg Britton @ 1:13 pm

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“DRIFT”  is a one-of-a-kind book containing information about our military that everyone should read.  It should be of particular interest to those serving in the military and their families.  Perhaps there aren’t many people left who remember WWII and the sacrifices everyone made for the war effort.  It was a conscripted military that saw us through those very dark days of war.  The “draft” of our young men impacted all the populace.  Now we have an all-volunteer military…but that isn’t all.

But Maddow sounds an alarm this country needs to hear more than almost any other. It is a warning about the deep erosion of perhaps the central aim and claim of the country’s founding document: A standing army is a threat to freedom, and a government of free people must place the responsibility for deciding to use force in the hands of multiple actors if we are to prevent the rash recourse to violence. Until we reverse that loss, we will continue to have a government of, by and for war.

You need to read this book.
Drift, by Rachel Maddow: review

by Catherine Lutz

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Drift
The Unmooring of American Military Power
By Rachel Maddow
(Crown; 275 pages; $25)

Rachel Maddow’s “Drift” is a book full of head-smacking stories about America’s military meddling and muddling since World War II. There is the account of a map-free 1983 invasion of Grenada to rescue medical students who didn’t need rescuing, and an invasion planned in 72 hours that resulted in more U.S. military deaths from friendly fire than Grenadan guns.

There are the stories about American nukes gone disastrously astray, like the ICBM warhead that a socket-wrench mishap caused to be spat out of its silo near Damascus, Ark. There are tales of counterinsurgency quackery like the Fallujah sewage treatment facility, an unrequested gift to the Iraqis who survived our 2004 assault there. It featured a 300 percent cost overrun and five-year delay, and is a gift that will keep on giving because the $105 million price tag did not cover “odor control facilities.”

These are stories not just of incompetence and of many dollars down a hidey-hole, but of people, in uniform and in civilian clothes, who did not need to die in wars that did not need to be fought.

Thankfully, the head smacking is cushioned throughout by the ironically cheerful persona of the storyteller. Side-smiling throughout an otherwise dark narrative, Maddow, the MSNBC television political commentator and newswoman, brings the reader at a fast pace to her conclusion: These misadventures have come about not so much through the ineffectiveness and institutional overreach of military leaders as through the desire of the last five presidents to radically expand the use of the military for their own often political and ideological ends. The result has been a state of permanent war.

Congress comes in for sharp criticism for relinquishing its constitutionally assigned duty to declare and fund war, but it is Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush 1, Bill Clinton, George Bush 2 and Obama whom Maddow calls out most energetically. Each innovated new ways to circumvent Congress and override the brakes of public opinion.

The long, creative list includes using private war contractors in place of a reserve force to make it easier to go to war without the public feeling the pinch; expanding secrecy under the aegis of intelligence operations to black out more and more of the budget; perfecting sales pitches and information control for those military interventions that do become public; and deferring to the generals for decisions about not just how but even whether to go to war.

“Drift” highlights the power of the feel-good, feel-strong imagery that Reagan’s World War II propaganda work prepared him to exploit as a president. This imagery has since proliferated: the Air Force jets overflying football stadiums, “smart” missiles threading the needle of Iraqi target chimneys, missile-bristling destroyers speeding toward crisis zones, young volunteers in a wallpaper of TV ads informing their proud parents about their plans to join up.

The Pentagon’s $600 million in annual ad spending has helped capture the public’s imagination and appetite for war, asking for little in return but a salute and a mortgaged future. These images, Maddow says, have made both the facts of world affairs and the Constitution irrelevant to political debate about how the military should be used. They have also made the soldier, we can add, a super-citizen, and the citizen a mere bystander.

Maddow’s regular viewers will recognize and delight in the Maddowisms salted throughout the book. Reagan looks south in the 1980s and sees “a Bolshevik in every baño.” The Washington, D.C., suburbs growing since the fertilizer of post-9/11 cash to Homeland Security are our new “intelligopolis.”

Her TV call-and-response style suggests that she really does expect us citizens to step up to the plate she’s served and demand a public reckoning and reversal of the militarizing process.

So, in reference to the elephantine complex of U.S. counterterrorism facilities and activities growing in the Virginia suburbs and elsewhere around the world, Maddow asks: “If no one knows if it’s making us safer, why have we built it? Why are we still building it, at breakneck speed? Liberty Crossing [the 850,000-square-foot National Counterterrorism Center] is slated to almost double in size over the next decade. Remember the fierce debate in Congress over whether or not it’s worth it to do that? No? Me neither.”

While Maddow critiques the increased use of contractors, her analysis gives the war profiteers too little credit for this metastasizing mess. One of the giants, Lockheed Martin, had annual military contracts that exceeded the budgets of the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor, combined. The military contractors’ lobbyists, campaign contributions and revolving-door employment for Pentagon workers are critical determinants of the carry-on imperative for war.

But Maddow sounds an alarm this country needs to hear more than almost any other. It is a warning about the deep erosion of perhaps the central aim and claim of the country’s founding document: A standing army is a threat to freedom, and a government of free people must place the responsibility for deciding to use force in the hands of multiple actors if we are to prevent the rash recourse to violence. Until we reverse that loss, we will continue to have a government of, by and for war.

Catherine Lutz is the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Family Professor at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and the author of “Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century.” books@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page FE - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

3/16/2011

REP. VIRGIL PECK IS WARPED…

Filed under: political musings, Rachel Maddow — Peg Britton @ 10:02 am

From Rachel Maddow’s blog:
Kansas pol not the least bit sorry
By Laura Conaway
-
Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:06 AM EDT

Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck, a Republican, claims the endorsement of the anti-abortion Kansans for Life. But life can sometimes be a laughing matter, apparently. Yesterday Mr. Peck told a state House Appropriations Committee working on a bill about wild hogs

“It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem.”

Kidding! He’s kidding! Also, he’s not sorry. “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person,” he told the Lawrence Journal-World.

So that’s one legislator in New Hampshire saying something offensive — that the mentally ill should be sent to die in Siberia — which he meant and for which he resigned. And that’s one legislator in Kansas saying something offensive that he doesn’t mean and isn’t apologizing for. (Dome on the Range has sound from the hearing.)

P.S. Kansas does appear to have a real issue with wild hogs.

Kansas has more than our share of these people…

7/7/2010

DOWNTOWN ELLSWORTH, ROBSON BROTHERS STONE WALL, AND OTHER THOUGHTS

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Lunch time brings added activity on main street.  Here are a couple of my faves who stopped for a quick chat…Deneen and Ally. Each was heading in a different direction for lunch.

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The stone masons, Brothers Robson, are finishing the decorative wall forming a base for the new, attractive fence surrounding the play ground at the grade school.

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See how nice this looks?  It’s a tremendous improvement  over the old chain link fence that preceded it.

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The view on Douglas Avenue.  The fence was constructed by the inmates at the ECF.

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Paden’s was a busy place, as usual. Salmon patties, mixed veggies, and fried potatoes formed the special for the day for $5.95.  Their homemade coconut cream pie was too much to resist.

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The north half of Rohrman’s Village Mall is getting an uplift.  It will also be a nice improvement.

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Work continues on the middle section of the Citizens State Bank and Trust.  Window glass is being installed so they are making good progress on the project.  The faux door goes between the two windows.

Downtown Ellsworth is looking better each day.

They reported this morning that divorce is contagious.  I can’t argue with this after observing on what goes on around me.  It’s pretty obvious in a small town.

If a close friend’s marriage is on the rocks, your chance of a marital split increases by 75%, according to research reported in the Daily Mail.

Even the divorce of a friend of a friend increases your chances of getting unhitched by one-third, according to the research.

Lindsay Lohan gets 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab.  She makes very poor decisions and doesn’t tell the truth.  It’s sad as she doesn’t need to be in prison, but there’s no doubt she needs a wake up call.  She’s been on probation since 2007 and is on a very self destructive course. What is a parent to do?

Did you know that more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one — not industry, not government — is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Something we already knew:  Kansas is to the right of right.  According to a Rasmussen poll, Sam Brownback leads Democratic challenger Tom Holland 59 to 31 percent.  No surprise there.  What is surprising is that a whopping 69% of Kansans surveyed support repeal of the health care reform bill (compared to 60% nationally).  And, 27% of Kansans surveyed consider themselves members of the tea party movement, compared with just 16% nationally.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of Kansas voters support offshore oil drilling, and 49% also favor deepwater drilling like the kind that led to the current oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty-nine percent (29%) oppose deepwater drilling, but 22% more are not sure about it.  Go figger.

Rachel Maddow’s report live from Afghanistan last night was enlightening.  She’ll be on again tonight live at 8:00 Central on MSNBC.  She also has pictures, videos and more information on her website:   http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/

In thinking about Rachel Maddow and the tough time she is having adjusting to the heat reminds me:  The U.S. now uses more electricity to cool our homes and workplaces than Africa uses for everything.

Tyler ought to be eligible to head home from Afghanistan in 10 days.  Who knows when that will actually happen.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/3/2010

RACHEL MADDOW’S SHOW LIVE FROM KABUL AFGHANISTAN TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY

Filed under: political musings, Rachel Maddow — Peg Britton @ 9:33 am

Rachel Maddow and producer Cory Gnazzo left on Friday for Afghanistan, by way of Dubai. They are traveling with NBC correspondent Richard Engel and producer Madeleine Haeringer.  Rachel will be broadcasting live Tuesday and Wednesday from Kabul on her regular show at 8:00 p.m. on MSNBC.  Take the time to watch.


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