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Maybe Michele Bachmann's historical inaccuracies are insignificant to her because such minor facts pale in the shadow of her divine mission.

After all, Bachmann graduated from Oral Roberts Law School, which eventually closed and transferred its library to Pat Robertson's Regent Law School. The Regent Law School Review provides an insight into Bachmann's view on law - and history: "Regent University Law Review seeks to present academically excellent scholarship on relevant issues facing the legal community today from the perspective of a historic Christian worldview. It is committed to a jurisprudence based upon a Higher Law; that is, law based upon the Law of God."

That is why Bachmann, Palin, and others seem to make whatever they want of the Constitution, our legal system and legal precedent. The foundation for the US rule of law in their minds is secondary to whatever might be their interpretation of a "higher law."

Of course, that puts Bachmann in pretty divinely inspired company. According to the Regent Law Review, "Past contributors include United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, Judge Edith H. Jones, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Robert P. George, George Allen, Charles W. Colson, Charles E. Rice, Phillip E. Johnson, David Barton, Nancy R. Pearcey, and James Bopp."

Proclaiming that God is guiding a person's destiny allows one to feel indifferent to factual accuracy.

According to Christian extremists such as Bachmann, the Good Lord can't be bothered with facts. "He's" too busy putting the final touches on Armageddon and making sure that no gays accidentally get into heaven.


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When Chris Wallace of Fox interviewed Jon Stewart over the weekend, he thought he was scoring a point when he bragged that Fox "news" viewers love the network. Stewart, always quick on the draw, responded that although this may be true, study after study shows that Fox viewers are the most misinformed on television.

BuzzFlash at Truthout encounters this constantly in comments and emails that we receive in response to the BuzzFlash blog columns. Fox viewers often base their statements on Fox "manufactured facts" that are simply not true.

One of these points is that big government is strangling small businesses, which are the backbone of the American economy. But the reality is that large corporations, particularly American-based global corporations, are slowly killing many small businesses, as we have noted before.

Think of small businesses that used to be in abundance: for example, hardware stores, pharmacies, appliance stores and shoe stores, among others.

Now, we have all these small businesses forced into closure by national and international corporations. The inherent goal of corporations is to eliminate the competition, and large companies have done just that by shuttering many small businesses through massive buying power, branding, predatory pricing and marketing.

In turn, these corporations accumulate large amounts of capital and profits, which are then used to yield political power in DC and state capitols, and to expand so that the middle class of ex-small business owners are forced to become low-wage workers at chain stores.

As the Portland Business Journal reports,

"Corporate profits may be at a record high, but businesses on Main Street are still scraping by," said NFIB [National Federation of Independent Business] Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. "Washington is throwing misdirected policies at the problem, offering tax breaks for hiring and equipment investment, but acting surprised when they don't bear any fruit."

So, the Fox viewers watch and listen to propaganda that the federal government is killing small businesses, when it is policies that benefit large corporations that are facilitating the decline of family-run operations.

The Fox fan who excoriates liberals for alleged anti-small business policies no doubt gets his/her hardware supplies from Home Depot, prescriptions from CVS, and appliances and computers from Best Buy, for example.

It makes you wonder how much cognitive dissonance one person can keep inside his/her head before it explodes from the factual contradictions.


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The other day, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote a commentary entitled, "The Republicans Want a More Ignorant Population, So They Are Cutting Educational Funds for College and Pre-College."

Among the comments on Facebook was an insightful one from a reader named Mario:

This is really an assault on the working class. A good education is the first step towards upward social mobility. An ignorant populace (the Republican dream) is one that is easier to control and convince.

This will leave the road open for the upper classes - and their well-educated children - to place a stranglehold on labor laws and civil liberties in America. If Republicans are successful, we had better prepare our children for the sweatshops, because that is where Wall Street is taking us back to.

One can argue that it is an exaggerated fear to think that American labor would revert to sweatshops, but such a scenario is possible. Many Republicans on Capitol Hill are opposed to the minimum wage and would like to do away with it. Without a legally mandated base - and barely livable - salary, many manufacturers would revert to the lowest possible compensation that would attract employees in the US. Given the severity of the ongoing economic situation, that hourly wage could then indeed drop dramatically to a sweatshop scale.

Furthermore, by decreasing the affordability of public colleges and universities, Republican legislators are creating a cul-de-sac of limited opportunity for most poor, middle- and working-class Americans.

Mario is correct. The Republican war on education is part of an overall strategy to limit the upward social and economic mobility of Americans who are not already wealthy.

While other nations, such as India and China, are broadening educational opportunities for their citizens and developing economies and a labor force for the future, the Republican Party and global corporations based in America are attempting to move the US economy backward.

This will result in a caste system that will create not a "free market," but a relatively closed one. Wealth and economic well-being then become not a result of ingenuity, education and entrepreneurialism, but rather of family inheritance.

This is also called a fossilized economy.


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No one's ever mistaken Prince Charles for the sharpest tool in the shed, but even he understands that man-made global warming is a reality.

In fact, he just recently chastised climate deniers and told Australian businessmen and women to get serious about saving the planet.

To quote the heir to the British throne,

"All the evidence shows that we are living in an increasingly unstable world," Prince Charles told industry figures gathered in Canberra.

"And yet we continue to test it to destruction and to allow the deniers of human-induced climate change to prevent vital action being taken."

However, in the US, the corporate media has accepted the "false equivalency" of airing business and right-wing, think-tank-backed scientists as counterpoints to the settled fact of the planet's deterioration due to unregulated industrial destruction.

The Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week, "Merchants of Doubt," provides an engrossing analysis of how "free market" ideological think tanks, wealthy individuals and Republican politicians in general strategically created a "false science" to insinuate into a mass media that won't take positions on proven facts.

Scientists were found who were willing - induced by either large sums of money or personal ideology - to serve as spokespersons to shoot down firm evidence against toxins like DDT, the danger of nuclear power plants, and - of course - climate change. In fact, Media Matters recently released a study showing that climate deniers dominate television news coverage of whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency should play an aggressive role in regulating industrial activity that leads to global warming.

"Merchants of Doubt" offers a fascinating insight into how we have arrived at this age when the media peddles pseudo-science. It is not an accident.

Our planet is at stake. Read the book.


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The Republican effort to privatize Medicare insurance is nothing but a strategy to redistribute wealth upward. It has nothing to do with improving care and cutting costs. In fact, it would decrease access and the quality of health care for seniors, with the exception of the richest Americans.

That is because for-profit insurance companies make money, as BuzzFlash has noted before, by adding overhead (profit) to the cost of health insurance and denying as many medical services as possible to increase net revenue.

Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA vice president, reveals where some of that profit goes:

You might be surprised to learn that more and more of the dollars you pay for coverage are being sucked into a kind of black hole.

It doesn't really disappear, of course. It just doesn't do you a bit of good - unless, of course, you believe it is to your advantage that it ultimately winds up in the bank accounts of a few investors and insurance company executives, including those who have to power to deny coverage for potentially life-saving care.

If you've been paying attention to what health insurance company CEOs have been saying to Wall Street over the past several months, you will know that they are spending more and more of their firms' cash - which comes from you, of course - to "repurchase" their firms' stock. And Wall Street absolutely loves that.

In a just-released report on an effort by GOP Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to privatize the oversight of health care benefits for state workers, the consultants concluded that the state would be paying more in premiums using a for-profit third party. Moreover, this was a report that Jindal commissioned and then tried to unsuccessfully suppress.

The Jindal report concluded, "that a private company would raise premiums to maintain a pre-tax operating margin of 4.5 to 7 percent." The consultants noted that the current state "agency [administering health care insurance] is generating surpluses through lower than expected expenses and cost-saving measures."

So, there you have it, yet again: privatization of health insurance increases costs and, in most cases, reduces care except for those who can afford comprehensive policies with low deductibles.

What privatization is about is not saving money, but making the wealthy insurance companies - including CEOs and shareholders - more profitable, at a higher overall cost to the American economy and a lower standard of care for most citizens.


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When America's young people can't afford public colleges, the US is headed toward a third-rate future.

The Republican Party, particularly the rabid Tea Party-influenced majority in the House, is embarked on a juggernaut to take the public out of everything it can in American life, including libraries, elementary and high schools, government workers, environmental protection, even parks and parking meters.

And the movement is fast succeeding at taking the public out of higher education by cutting - most noticeably at state levels - subsidies to state and community colleges to such an extent that tuition is no longer affordable to many young Americans and their families.

A column in CNNMoney states it bluntly:

"As the out-of-pocket costs of a college education go up faster than incomes, it's pricing low and medium income families out of a college education," said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of financial aid sites FinAid.org and FastWeb.com.

The numbers confirm what most middle class families already know - college is becoming so expensive, it's starting to hold them back.

The crux of the problem: Tuition and fees at public universities, according to the College Board, have surged almost 130% over the last 20 years - while middle class incomes have stagnated. [/indent]

The combination of privatizing public services, and thus making them less affordable to the vast majority of Americans, and lowering the wage scale for workers fortunate to have a job is making this a two-class nation.

When an increasing number of young Americans can't afford higher education, it is grievously harming the nation's future. Remember that much of our corporate intellectual property is built upon public research (just think of the Internet, which grew out of a project at the University of Illinois).

All the poobahs in DC worry so much about a hyped crisis in elementary and high school education (which has more to do with poverty than teachers), but even if magically these schools were to improve, a great many of the graduating students couldn't afford college.

Even a second grader could figure that out.


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Awhile back, BuzzFlash posted a commentary on how Eric Cantor was, in essence, promoting rationing that would mean some seniors would die for lack of treatment under the Paul Ryan Medicare proposal.

Cantor admitted that treatment would be based on the ability to afford different levels of coverage. It was a rather shocking admission - considering that Ryan is still implausibly claiming that his Groupon voucher (coupon) approach to Medicare will not cut back on access for seniors. Yet, Cantor's rare candor went all but unnoticed by the corporate mainstream press.

The reality is that the Republicans have created the illusion that private medical insurance is universally generous and all-encompassing in its coverage. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Private insurance is as varied as a used car warranty, and most Americans cannot afford medical insurance that is all-encompassing. Private insurance, except for top executives and the wealthiest, is trending toward higher deductibles, more restricted coverage and more vigorous challenge to claims.

For most people, even with private, for-profit insurance, health care is rationed right now.

Even for Medicare as we know it, there are restrictions, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, supplemental policies etc. An Associated Press article today notes that many seniors, under Medicare, cannot afford prohibitively priced life-saving drugs.

In short, there is no medical insurance in the United States that does not ration care, and Medicare, in fact, is the fairest, regardless of income. According to Paul Krugman, it is also the most inexpensive policy when it comes to what the gross national cost of insurance might otherwise be for America's seniors.

Cantor and Ryan believe that the wealthy are entitled to more extensive, life-saving and routine health care, because they have earned it.

But the health of a nation is dependent upon the health of its people, and not just its largest income earners.


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In another indication that cutting corporate taxes and providing corporate financial incentives are not helping to resolve the unemployment problem, The New York Times reports that businesses are spending their extra dollars on software and equipment (more automation) - and hardly any on increased hiring.

Add that to a large number of corporations sitting on record profits and the continued outsourcing of jobs overseas, and it becomes clearer that the economy needs increased consumer buying power through a high-octane jobs stimulus program.

The opening paragraphs of The New York Times article speak for themselves:

Companies that are looking for a good deal aren't seeing one in new workers.

Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people.

"I want to have as few people touching our products as possible," said Dan Mishek, managing director of Vista Technologies in Vadnais Heights, Minn. "Everything should be as automated as it can be. We just can't afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive."

Vista, which makes plastic products for equipment manufacturers, spent $450,000 on new technology last year. During the same period, it hired just two new workers, whose combined annual salary and benefits are $160,000.

Two years into the recovery, hiring is still painfully slow. The economy is producing as much as it was before the downturn, but with seven million fewer jobs. Since the recovery began, businesses' spending on employees has grown 2 percent as equipment and software spending has swelled 26 percent, according to the Commerce Department. A capital rebound that sharp and a labor rebound that slow have been recorded only once before - after the 1982 recession.

As BuzzFlash noted the other day, US corporations are poised to make America a secondary consumer market, because there will not be sufficient numbers of citizens with significant mass buying power for their products.

"Deficit reduction" plans that increase corporate tax breaks and financial incentives are just a way of rewarding big business for automating, expanding overseas and reducing hiring here in the United States.


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On Wednesday, I received an offer that I could refuse.

It was an email invitation from Tom Culligan, vice president of the Rev. Moon-founded Washington Times:

Please accept this as your personal invitation to join me on what promises to be one of the most exciting and enjoyable getaways in recent memory: the August 27 - September 3, 2011 CPAC cruise: North to Alaska!

Don Rumsfeld will be one of your fellow shipmates. As will NRA president David Keene, American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, and, of course, yours truly....

I have to tell you: when I watched "Sarah Palin's Alaska" on my big-screen TV, I fell in love with that wild and wonderful state. And, now, I can't wait to roam its pristine terrain.

Holy wolf hunting from a helicopter with a sniper rifle! I just had to check out the cruise web site, only to find that the most inexpensive single cabin was $2,502.

Of course, there is also the Koch brothers' accommodations package for the princely sum of $6,826, but it might be worth the price just to have that mini bar and open sea verandah for relief if I had to pal around with Rummy, Grover and Ralph Reed all day.

There's nothing like sailing toward the Arctic, which is expected to dramatically accelerate its meltdown in the next few decades, with a rogue's gallery of global warming deniers and neocons.

But it's a moot point. The only way I could afford the cruise would be to find some large gold nuggets, maybe in front of Sarah Palin's window from which she can see Russia.

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We are in the midst of a tsunami wave destroying millions and millions of jobs in America, while Washington is obsessed with cutting the deficit and Anthony Weiner's lascivious Internet "flirtations."

Bob Herbert - who is now blogging at the Policy Shop at the think tank Demos - pleads that this is the time to pull the fire alarm on unemployment:

What we have on our hands is a catastrophe. The economy has proved incapable of generating enough jobs for those who want and desperately need to work. The few jobs that are being created are mostly low-paying and part-time, with few or no benefits.

What is bizarre is the extent to which politicians have turned their backs on this issue, yammering incessantly (and ineffectively) about budget-cutting and fiscal responsibility while doing nothing, absolutely nothing, about jobs.

We're in a different era now - an era of declining living standards and a much bleaker future than Americans had become accustomed to.

Washington, DC, Herbert argues, is in a glass bubble of delusion: "President Obama referred to May's execrable jobs numbers as a bump in the road. Republicans and Democrats alike are counseling austerity, which is like weakening the water pressure of firefighters trying to contain a conflagration."

The corporate control over the debate about the future of America is imploding the US workforce, as jobs are steadily relocated offshore, automation increases business profits and the few jobs created are salaried at barely livable wages.

Our manufacturing industry long ago cratered.

If there is no awakening to this reality by those in DC, it will not be long before the US becomes a third-world market for global corporations here. There simply won't be enough consumer buying power to fuel domestic economic expansion.

But, in essence, that part of the tsunami wave has already struck our shores.


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