Even Critics of Safety Net Depend on It Increasingly

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html?hp

By and
Published: February 11, 2012

He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the Tea Party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted this region’s long-serving Democratic congressman.

Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.

There is little poverty here in Chisago County, northeast of Minneapolis, where cheap housing for commuters is gradually replacing farmland. But Mr. Gulbranson and many other residents who describe themselves as self-sufficient members of the American middle class and as opponents of government largess are drawing more deeply on that government with each passing year.

Dozens of benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each man, woman and child in the county in 2009, a 69 percent increase from 2000 after adjusting for inflation. In Chisago, and across the nation, the government now provides almost $1 in benefits for every $4 in other income.

Older people get most of the benefits, primarily through Social Security and Medicare, but aid for the rest of the population has increased about as quickly through programs for the disabled, the unemployed, veterans and children.

The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published last year.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html?hp

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The Simmering Battle Between Occupy and the Black Bloc

From The Portland Mercury:   http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2012/02/07/the-simmering-battle-between-occupy-and-the-black-bloc

Posted by Denis C. Theriault
on Tue, Feb 7, 2012

Last night’s anti-police-brutality march—a chaotic brew of nuisance vandalism, bickering among participants, and, yes, reports of heavy-handed arrests—was maybe more useful than it seemed in the dim glow of all the talk of smashed windows and hyped news releases. (H/T to Jess E. Hadden for the Ustream video above.)

It’s brought back to light, on a local level, questions about the permeability of Occupy’s message and massing—and the relative ease in which groups whose aims run counter or even merely neutral to the movement’s overall focus on economic inequality can wind up distorting public and media perceptions of all the inchoate aims the Occupy movement is actually all about.

In this case, it was the return of the Black Bloc-style of petty destruction/protesting Portland has long been familiar with but which had largely been absent from most mainstream Occupy events. Tension between the factions has been simmering for months—I remember hearing about it during the November eviction of Occupy’s downtown camp and actually seeing it outside Terminal 5 during the Port of Portland protest in December.

But last night it bubbled over—and like with so much of Occupy Wall Street, what happens in one town is often a reflection of what’s happening nationally.

It’s a fight that seems to be coming to a head everywhere.

Complete article at:  http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2012/02/07/the-simmering-battle-between-occupy-and-the-black-bloc

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Priest allegedly told rape victim: ‘This is what God’s love feels like’

This is coming from one of the priestly pricks who want to deny women birth control.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/12/priest-allegedly-told-rape-victim-this-is-what-god%E2%80%99s-love-feels-like/

By Andrew Jones
Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Los Angeles attorney is accusing 200 Catholic priests of sexual abuse across California.

According to NBC affiliate in Los Angeles, attorney Ray Boucher has mapped out at least sixty locations of where suspected priests reside in California.

“Many if not all these priests have admitted to sexual abuse,” Boucher told NBC Los Angeles. “They live within a mile of 1,500 playgrounds, schools and daycare centers.”

 One of the alleged victims, Dan Smith, graphically detailed his incident with a local priest when he was a child.

“He would rape me and then say this is what God’s love feels like,” Smith told Los Angeles NBC.

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/12/priest-allegedly-told-rape-victim-this-is-what-god%E2%80%99s-love-feels-like/

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Not everyone is on board for gay marriage

Election 2012: the return of ‘culture wars’

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/10/election-2012-return-culture-wars

Until now, we thought this campaign would be all about the economy. It still will – but ‘values’ voters are going to count, too

guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 February 2012

No wonder the Republicans have lost their way. For a party that considers itself socially conservative with a base that takes the bible literally its moral compass is seriously askew.

After a slew of women came forward to accuse one presidential candidate, Herman Cain, of sexual harassment, his poll standing actually edged up a little. When one woman accused him of having a consensual affair, his numbers plummeted and he dropped out of the race. A couple months later, in South Carolina, the most conservative state to vote so far in the Republican presidential nomination contest, Newt Gingrich‘s fortunes improved after his second wife revealed that he threatened to leave her unless she accepted an “open marriage” with his now third wife, with whom he was having an affair at the time.

They’re so busy sinning, repenting and then sinning again, it’s a wonder they can find time to cast the first stone, over and over again.

The upshot is peculiar. For most of last month, the two frontrunners were the thrice-married Catholic convert Gingrich, who tried to have a polygamous relationship, and Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has practiced lifelong monogamy.

Before last week, none of this seemed to matter. When Rick Santorum arrived in New Hampshire, fresh from victory in Iowa, and started arguing with hecklers about gay marriage, he looked like a kook, even to Republicans. Meanwhile, Romney has been intent on riding to the White House, with nary a hair out of place, not so much as president, but CEO of America Inc.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/10/election-2012-return-culture-wars

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Steve King and White Nationalist CPAC Panel Warn that America’s Greatest Threat is its Diversity

From Right Wing Watch:   http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/steve-king-and-white-nationalist-cpac-panel-warn-americas-greatest-threat-its-diversity

by Brian Tashman
February 9, 2012

Today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the group ProEnglish organized the panel, “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American identity,” and host Robert Vandervoort thanked CPAC for hosting the panel despite the work of “leftist thugs” who are trying to “shut down freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” Vandervoort is a former leader of the White Nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of the American Renaissance, a racist magazine published by fellow White Nationalist Jared Taylor. Presumably, Vandervoort was referring to the efforts of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which issued an alert on his background, and People For the American Way, which called on Republican leaders attending CPAC to denounce another panelist, Peter Brimelow, founder and head of the White Nationalist hate website VDARE.

In 2009, Brimelow reflected on CPAC after “Obama’s racial-socialist coup” and expressed his fear that the U.S. is doomed to face a “minority occupation government.” He called on the Republican Party to start focusing on becoming the party of white voters by attacking “ethnic lobbies,” affirmative action, bilingual education and “taxpayer subsidies to illegal aliens.”

Prior to Brimelow’s talk, Vandervoort delivered a rambling speech from Serge Trifkovic (who wasn’t able to attend) that focused on how the “cult of non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual victimhood” and “multiculturalist indoctrination” is ruining the West. “The native Western majorities will melt away,” Trifkovic’s speech concluded, “Europeans and our trans-Atlantic cousins are literally endangered species. The facilitators of our destruction must be neutralized if we are to survive.” Afterwards, Rosalie Porter bemoaned the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act for giving too much political influence to minorities.

Brimelow stayed on message and warned that multiculturalism and bilingualism were “diseases” that could wreck American society as they empower minorities and suppress traditional American (read: white) groups. He claimed that Canada, which is officially bilingual, was a good example of how bilingualism becomes a tool of elites to help minorities (Quebecers) at the expense of the majority, and went on to call multiculturalism and bilingualism a “ferocious attack on the working class.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/steve-king-and-white-nationalist-cpac-panel-warn-americas-greatest-threat-its-diversity

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The Delicate Dance Of Disassociating Oneself From ‘White Nationalist’ Groups At CPAC

From Talking Points Memo:  http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/steve_king_white_nationalists_and_leftist_thugs_a_tale_of_a_cpac_side_panel.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

Ryan J. Reilly
February 11, 2012

Although much of the attention is on the main stage at each year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, it’s the side events where the real kookiness occurs. These events can give CPAC organizers and attendees a headache as they try to walk the line between accepting certain groups under the umbrella of the conservative movement, but also trying to make it clear they don’t want to associate themselves with some of those groups’ more questionable qualities.

Take for instance a session on the dangers of multiculturalism, that included participants from the website VDARE, which has been labeled as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Rep. Steve King was one of those who had to walk the fine line. When questioned about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s description of his fellow panelists he first reacted by going on the offensive. “I wouldn’t be sitting up on a panel with anyone from the Southern Poverty Law Center,” King told reporters. “I’m not in a position to judge people in the fashion they seem to be so free to do.”

However, King then danced a delicate series of mental pirouettes. He explained his respect for VDARE’s top dog, Peter Brimelow, while holding back from a full-on embrace. Brimelow, he said, was not someone he’d met before the panel, though he had read his books.

Continue reading at:  http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/steve_king_white_nationalists_and_leftist_thugs_a_tale_of_a_cpac_side_panel.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

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