Poll Shows That Americans Are Pretty Clueless About Politics – In the latest installment of the Pew Research Center’s News IQ Quiz, just 32% know that the Senate passed its version of the legislation without a single Republican vote. And, in what proved to be the most difficult question on the quiz, only about a quarter (26%) knows that it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate and force a vote on a bill.
In response to questions about terrorism and national security, half (50%) correctly identify Yemen as the country where intelligence officials believe the suspect in an attempted Christmas Day airline bombing received training and bomb materials. A slightly smaller percentage (43%) knows that during all of 2009 there were more American military fatalities in Afghanistan than in Iraq; 32% said more U.S. troops were killed in Iraq.
Only about four-in-ten (39%) know that Nevada Democrat Harry Reid is the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. About a third (32%) correctly pick Michael Steele as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Interestingly, nearly half of Republicans (48%) are able to identify Reid as Senate majority leader compared with just a third (33%) of Democrats. More Republicans can identify Reid as majority leader than can identify Steel as chairman of the RNC (37%).
(Summary: Don’t expect people to vote intelligently if they are not knowledgeable. We need to educate. – JLV) [Education must be affordable and that requires funding the common wealth for the common good.]
Big Falsehoods: A Guide to Andrew Breitbart’s Lies, Smears, and Distortions – Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” websites — Big Hollywood, Big Government, and Big Journalism — as well as his breitbart.tv website, have in recent months laid claim to many “exclusives,” touting controversial and sensationalist storylines that have been picked up by other conservative media outlets, from Fox News on down. However, a closer examination reveals that many of Breitbart’s “scoops” have been based on speculation, gross distortions, and outright falsehoods. Many, many details at the link. [Also – Neocon Noble Lies]
Inequality Is Literally Killing Us – Over 200 studies since the early 1980s have now documented that people living in societies where wealth has concentrated at the top of the economic ladder live significantly shorter, less healthy lives than people who live in societies that spread their wealth more evenly.
And we’re not talking just poor folks here. All people in unequal societies do worse. Middle-income people in the United States, the world’s most unequal developed nation, have shorter lifespans than middle-income people in Japan, Sweden and a host of other more equal nations.
This same dynamic, Wilkinson and Pickett show in their new book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, is operating on all our most basic yardsticks of social decency. On everything from homicides and teen pregnancies to drug addiction and levels of trust, people living in more equal nations do better — from three to 10 times better — than people in societies where treasure tilts to the top.
And that treasure, in the United States, is tilting top-bound as rapidly as ever. Seldom — if ever — have so few profited so profusely in the midst of a general economic collapse.
Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists Eye Tea Party for Recruiting – Tea parties are proving very attractive to both white supremacists and the militia movement. At 11:15 on Friday, in an online Patriot Caucus discussion forum, David E. Parsons wrote a post called “Militia Training Videos,” with links to videos by Mark Koernke, a leading figure in the American militia movement, and his followers.
But militants are not the only ones infiltrating the Tea Party movement. The white power movement views Tea Parties as opportunities to recruit as well as incite violence, as is evidenced by postings on the white power website Stormfront:
Whites Forward: “Go where our people are starting to stand up around symptoms of the problem, and INTERVENE to guide them. Just because these started as an anti-tax protest doesn’t mean that they must be limited and can’t be developed upward toward an explicitly racial mass struggle.”
Scottish: “I think the “tea party” is a good way to meet people with potential. Most people at this event will be white people who are fed up with the direction of things and they are ready to hear how we got into this mess.”
In the recent documentary, “White Power USA”, neo-Nazi J.T. Ready describes the Tea Party movement as “the beginning of a really good awakening.” White supremacists believe that they are only the tip of an iceberg, the visible aspect of a more universal hatred. The documentary suggests that white supremacists sees Tea Parties as “the best chance in decades to cross over into mainstream American politics.”