The United States virtually belongs to Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma and a handful of other special interests – including the National Rifle Association. The rest of us merely live in it.
The NRA’s wealth does not come from hunters but rather from the producers of weapons and ammunition. That industry is expected to rack up $11.7 billion in sales and $993 million in profits this year, according to analysts at IBIS World. An increasing percentage of those profits are from semi-automatic weapons produced for combat, according to industry analysts.
LGBT history will recall the election of 2012 as a critical turning point in the quest for equality. Broader history will remember Nov. 6 for proving definitively that the close association of the Republican Party with the tea party and the Christian right is politically lethal.
Evangelical tea party candidates clearly cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate for the second election cycle in a row. All the tea party candidates who shared their shocking views about rape lost their races. They also shifted attention away from issues on which the Democrats were vulnerable, instead bringing visibility to the GOP’s goal of criminalizing abortion in all circumstances, including rape, incest and the life of the mother.
High-ranking officials of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee consider their campus to be a model of LGBT inclusivity.
But UWM admission officials denied in-state tuition to a man whose husband – the couple was legally married in New York – has lived in the state for more than a year. The first rejection letter the couple received gave the real reason why: Same-sex marriage and its equivalent are illegal in Wisconsin.
The people of Aurora, Colo., had just begun returning to normalcy after the July 20 massacre at a cinema there when Milwaukeeans were hit with the news that a hate attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek had left six worshippers near the Texas A&M University campus, killing two and wounding four before he was gunned down by police.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Texas case was the 12th mass shooting in the nation since the beginning of June. FBI statistics show guns are used in 67 percent of all homicides.
A year ago, a 22-year-old nanny working two jobs started a petition on Change.org protesting a $5 monthly banking fee levied by Bank of America. More than 300,000 people signed, and dozens of other citizens launched copycat petitions targeting their banks for similar fees.
In less than one month, Bank of America and other major national banks dropped the charges.
Tommy Thompson’s U.S. Senate campaign recently reminded us how far behind the curve he really is.
Senior political adviser Brian Nemoir disseminated a tweet from the Thompson campaign linking to a video showing Democratic rival Tammy Baldwin dancing at a 2010 Pride event. “Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy,” Nemoir wrote in an email, implying that being gay is inconsistent with having values.
Following the U.S. Census, the party in control of each state legislature gets to redraw the boundaries of its political districts, ostensibly to reflect population changes. The party so empowered inevitably uses the opportunity to design a map shamelessly serving its advantage.
In Wisconsin, the reigning GOP leadership used the occasion of the 2010 Census to implement a number of controversial maneuvers, including eliminating the former 22nd Assembly District. Among other things, Republicans folded the district’s white, upscale community of Shorewood into the 10th Assembly District’s inner-city boundaries, creating a super-majority Democratic district that politically unites two diverse populations.
Barack Obama’s message of hope got knocked about, battered by the hard realities of war – two of them, started by another president – and the most severe economic troubles since the Great Depression.
Seizing on that, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have asked: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Interesting that the Greedy Old Party isn’t asking if America as a nation is better off.
GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri created a firestorm when he told a St. Louis reporter that women generally can’t conceive as a result of “legitimate rape.” According to information the learned congressman claims to have gleaned from doctors, women’s reproductive systems shut down automatically from the trauma.
GOP representatives in the U.S. House have now voted 31 times either to dismantle or hobble President Barack Obama’s health care reform act – known variously as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Those votes in the House have been symbolic, since the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has made it clear that any efforts to alter the legislation will halt at the door of its chamber. Thus the time spent on those votes is a waste of energy that would be better spent on developing policies to stimulate the lagging economy.
GOP House members hope to gain political traction by their opposition to Obamacare. They’ve focused enormous efforts on attempts to brand the bill as “socialized medicine.” Never mind that Obamacare is not remotely socialized anything. In fact, it delivers 30 million new customers to the private insurance industry.