How Shameless Christian Con Artists Took Over The GOP

Michele Bachmann

The Article: How shameless Christian con artists took over the GOP by Amanda Marcotte in Salon.

The Text: The culture of fundamentalist Christianity has had profound impacts on the Republican party in the past few decades, moving Republicans to the right on various issues and forcing Republicans to prioritize gay-bashing and attacks on reproductive rights. The shutdown, however, ended up demonstrating something even more sinister. Republicans are no longer just cribbing their political ideology from fundamentalist Christianity. Increasingly, conservative politicians are abandoning the basic task of representing the interests of their voters and instead are exploiting their voters in the same way televangelists and other fundamentalist charlatans exploit the true believers that come to them looking for spiritual salvation.

Ted Cruz is the most prominent example, at least in the past month. After the shutdown debacle, it became clear that Cruz has no interest in using his position as a Texas senator to work on behalf of the voters who got him there. Instead, his M.O. is pure sleazy televangelist: Lots of public grandstanding to convince his marks, previously known as constituents, that he’s on their side, for the sole purpose of shaking them down for money and support without offering anything in return.

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How The Middle Class Plans For Retirement? Death

Middle Class

The Article: Many middle-class Americans plan to work until they die by Melanie Hicken in CNN Money.

The Text: Nearly half of middle-class workers said they are not confident that they will be able to save enough to retire comfortably, according to a Wells Fargo survey of 1,000 workers between the ages of 25 and 75, with household incomes between $25,000 and $100,000.

As a result, 34% said they plan to work until they’re at least 80 — that’s up from 25% in 2011 and 30% last year. An even larger percentage, 37%, said they’ll never retire and plan to either work until they get too sick or die, the survey found.

Driving these concerns is that many of the respondents said they simply can’t afford to pay their monthly bills and save for retirement at the same time.

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Why The 1% Should Pay Tax At 80%

Reagan Thatcher

The Article: Why the 1% should pay tax at 80% by Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Pinketty in The Guardian.

The Text: In the United States, the share of total pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% has more than doubled, from less than 10% in the 1970s to over 20% today (pdf). A similar pattern is true of other English-speaking countries. Contrary to the widely-held view, however, globalisation and new technologies are not to blame. Other OECD countries, such as those in continental Europe, or Japan have seen far less concentration of income among the mega rich.

At the same time, top income tax rates on upper income earners have declined significantly since the 1970s in many OECD countries – again, particularly in English-speaking ones. For example, top marginal income tax rates in the United States or the United Kingdom were above 70% in the 1970s, before the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions drastically cut them by 40 percentage points within a decade.

At a time when most OECD countries face large deficits and debt burdens, a crucial public policy question is whether governments should tax high earners more. The potential tax revenue at stake is now very large.

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A Former Texas Republican Judge’s Choice Words On The Tea Party

Texas People

The Article: Texas Republican Judge Switches Party, Denouncing GOP as Party of Bigots and Hate-Mongers by Steve Rosenfeld in AlterNet.

The Text: A Republican Judge from San Antonio, Texas, has announced he is quitting the GOP and will seek re-election as a Democrat, saying that he can no longer be part of political party whose identity is based on hate, bigotry and destrying people’s lives.

Bexar County Judge Carlo R. Key made his announcement in a YouTube campaign video, where the image shifts between the judge sitting at his bench and screenshots of Republicans—from Sen. Teed Cruz to state politicians—boosting their agenda or career by harming others.

Key’s words speak for themselves. Here’s a transcript, where he ends by urging others who share his moderate temperament and respectful demeanor to join him.

I have tried to live a life of principles. These principles have been shaped by mi familia, my community and my country. In fact, it is my dedication to these principles which has lead me to the law in the first place and has guided me to becoming a judge. These values are simple. I believe that justice demands fairness. It demands careful and intelligent probing of evidence. And above all else, justice can only be served without prejudice toward race, color, creed or whom you choose to love.

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Despite McConnell And Paul’s Efforts, Obamacare A Win In Kentucky

Obamacare Kentucky

The Article: Obamacare a win in Kentucky by Jonathan Miller in The Daily Beast.

The Text: Politics in my old Kentucky home has, for centuries, been awash in irreconcilable contradictions.

We stuck with the Union in favor of our favorite son, Lincoln, but then joined in common cause with the Confederacy after the Civil War had ended. A century later, we boasted some of the nation’s most progressive civil rights laws; yet, to this date, we still feature many of America’s most segregated societies. And while Kentucky’s been one of the largest beneficiaries of the New Deal/Great Society welfare state, the dominant strain in our politics remains a fierce anti-government, anti-tax worldview.

Kentucky’s perplexing and hypocritical aversion to big government has been exploited brilliantly by our senior senator Mitch McConnell, who’s capitalized on our cultural resentment of elite interference to transform the Bluegrass State into a deep-red citadel in federal elections. More recently, our junior senator Rand Paul catapulted McConnell’s vision much further than Mitch intended, placing Kentucky in the crosshairs of the Tea Party revolution. But while these two political icons and their surrogates clash over the depth of government slashing, they’ve been steadfastly united behind one common vision: the defeat, and, more recently, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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