Saturday, January 31, 2015


New study: Liberals outlive conservatives

Liberals live longer than conservatives in the United States, a new study suggests.

The results come as a surprise because previous research has consistently found that conservatives in other countries and Republicans in the United States report being happier and healthier – traits usually linked to longer lives. Also, communities with high conservative or Republican election turnouts tend to have lower death rates.

But previous U.S. studies did not separate political ideology from party affiliation or look at whether conservatives actually died at a slower clip than liberals of similar education and income, says Roman Pabayo, a community health researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The new study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, does all that and gives the edge to liberals.

"We were surprised," says Pabayo, who led the study as a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. But, he says, the results are believable because they depend on individual death records – a "more valid measure" than the self-reports on health and the community death rates used in previous studies.

The new study included more than 32,000 adults who identified themselves as Democrats, Republicans, independents or other, and as liberal, moderate or conservative.

Researchers were able to track which of them died, and how quickly, over an average period of 15 years.

Results: Self-proclaimed conservatives and moderates were 6% more likely to die during follow-up than self-proclaimed liberals with otherwise similar traits, including age, sex and socioeconomic status. When sorted by party, Republicans and Democrats had similar death rates; independents had lower death rates.

The study included what people said about their health and happiness, but those factors did not seem to explain the differences, Pabayo says. Republicans claimed to be healthier and happier, just as they did in previous studies; conservatives claimed to be happier, but not healthier.

The study did not look at health care access or health habits such as smoking, drinking and diet. But it suggests some traits associated with identifying as a liberal are linked to longer life, Pabayo says. Those could go beyond health habits to include "how you look at life, how you react to adversity," he says. "We need to figure out what's really going on."

One researcher not involved in the new study is unconvinced. The death differences found are "very small" and the idea that self-reported health is not a good predictor of death is "very inconsistent" with other research, says Subu V. Subramanian, a professor of population health and geography at Harvard.

His study of Republicans and Democrats not only found that Republicans reported better health but that they were 15% less likely to smoke. Smoking is a major cause of illness and death.

In general, he says, Republicans and conservatives tend to be more religious and "more tied into social networks and organizations." Those ties are thought to promote better health.

John Feehery, a former House Republican aide who is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications, knocks down the idea that liberals outlive conservatives. "They don't live longer," he says. "It just seems that way."

Political satirist Daniel Kurtzman, author of How to Win a Fight with a Conservative and How to Win a Fight with a Liberal, believes the findings. "Did they really need a study?" he asks. "Conservatives like guns, tobacco, fossil fuels, deep-fried endangered caribou." Liberals, he said, "like yoga, weed, clean air, free-range kale ... and giving everyone free health care."


Friday, January 30, 2015

Inaction by Congress destroying our future

President Barack Obama  (photo: AP)
President Barack Obama (photo: AP)

Blueprint for Middle-Class Economics

By President Barack Obama, Reader Supported News
29 January 15
merica's resurgence is real. With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production, we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.

Now we have to choose what we want that future to look like. Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and rising chances for everyone who makes the effort?

In my State of the Union Address last week, I focused on making sure middle-class economics helps more Americans get ahead in the new economy. As a country, we need to do more to make working families' paychecks go farther, give Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they earn higher wages, and build the world's most competitive economy for our businesses.

On Monday, I will present Congress with my budget, a plan for bringing middle-class economics into the 21st Century. First, I'm proposing we make the kinds of investments we need to continue to grow our economy and enhance our national security. We would establish new advanced manufacturing hubs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and lead a new age of precision medicine that uses cutting-edge science to find new treatments for diseases like diabetes and cancer. We would give working parents a chance to get ahead with guaranteed paid sick leave, and we'd give Americans of all ages a chance to earn new skills by making community college free for responsible students. And we should invest in a 21st century military to confront global challenges with strong and sustained American leadership. These proposals are pragmatic; they're the types of things both parties should be able to support.

But where Democrats and Republicans often disagree is in how to pay for these kinds of ideas. I'm proud that since I took office, we've experienced the fastest period of sustained deficit reduction since the end of World War II. My budget will build on that progress with reforms to health programs, our tax code, and our broken immigration system. It would eliminate the trust fund loophole that allows the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying taxes on their unearned income, and use the savings to cut taxes for middle class families. If Congress passes my budget, our country would meet the key test of fiscal sustainability, with our debt declining as a share of our GDP.

Of course, to make these common-sense investments in our future without adding to our deficits, we need to turn the page on the manufactured crises that have defined the debates over our budget in recent years. Our recovery was held back when Congress shut down the government and risked the full faith and credit of the United States. We can't afford to do that again. And we have to build on the bipartisan budget agreement I signed in 2013 that helped us end some of the arbitrary, across-the-board budget cuts known as "sequestration." Last year's agreement helped boost our economic growth without undermining fiscal responsibility. We were able to invest in key national priorities while cutting our deficits to their lowest level since 2007.

In order to get wages and incomes rising faster, we need to take the next step. That's why my Budget will fully reverse the sequestration cuts for domestic priorities in 2016. It will match those investments with equal dollar increases for defense funding. If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military. Investments in key areas will fall to their lowest level in ten years, adjusted for inflation, putting American research, education, infrastructure, and national security at risk. But if Congress joins me, we can make sure that ending sequestration is fully paid for by cutting inefficient spending and closing tax loopholes.

The Budget I'm sending to Congress is a blueprint for success in the new economy. I know that there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach, and I look forward to hearing their ideas for how we can pay for what the middle class needs to grow. But what we can't do is simply pretend that things like child care or college aren't important, or that there's nothing we can do to help middle class families get ahead.

Because we still have work to do. As a country, we have made it through some hard times. But we've laid a new foundation. We've got a new future to write. And I am eager to get to work.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obama Executive Order shuts down Congress

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a historic Oval Office ceremony on Thursday morning, President Barack Obama signed an executive order closing Congress, effective immediately.

The President said that the move would dramatically increase the efficiency of the federal government, noting how much he had accomplished since he stopped working with Congress in November.

Additionally, he said, the elimination of Congress would result in annual savings of more than five billion dollars, which Obama said would be refunded to American taxpayers.

Acknowledging that “some sticklers” would argue that the Constitution calls for three branches of government, the President said, “All this order does is reduce that number by one.”

The initial public reaction to the President’s decision appeared to be overwhelmingly positive, as news of the executive order sent his approval rating soaring to seventy-nine percent.

Asked by reporters if he had any message for members of Congress, the President said, “I got it from here.”

Big month for lovers, cowboys at Library Bookstore

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Library Friends of Payson Bookstore is featuring paperback romance novels at the price of 10 for $1 through the month of February.

Patrons who buy at least $3 worth will receive a library tote bag free of charge. For patrons who may not appreciate romances, we will include western paperbacks in this special while supplies last.

Bookstore stock is constantly changing, so come by often. Bookstore volunteers are always happy to help you. All Bookstore proceeds directly support the library.

The LFOP Bookstore is located to the right of the circulation desk just inside the Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road.

For more information visit the Library Friends ofPayson website at

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Think Palin Is Incoherent? Listen To Jeb!

Bill Scher

Many people are having a good laugh watching Sarah Palin’s unintentionally hilarious speech to a conservative gathering in Iowa over the weekend. But Palin is never going to get anywhere near the White House.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco Friday, someone else gave a painfully incoherent speech. And since the speaker really could end up in the White House, it’s actually worth your attention. 

Jeb Bush’s address to the National Automobile Dealers Association attracted much positive press. He was willing to challenge conservative orthodoxy on immigration and education. He sounded like an adult, eschewing sophomoric right-wing zingers. He maturely identified problems facing average Americans and offered ideas to solve them.

Sounds refreshing. There’s just one problem. When you pay attention to what he is saying, the speech doesn’t make any sense.

Take this passage:

Far from spreading opportunity, our government now gets in the way, each and every day. Another law, another tax, another fee, or another regulation – it all stands in the way of a new business, a new invention, a new job and most importantly, rising income for American families. The great stories that were told here today of successful dealerships – it’s harder today to do exactly what you all have done to achieve earned success.
In other words, government is making things so hard for business … that auto dealers are doing really well.

In fact NADA just announced that, “Light-vehicle sales for 2014 amounted to 16.4 million units up 5.8 percent from 2013 making 2014 the year with the highest sales since 2006.” Also, truck sales are up 17.5 percent from last year. And the NADA annual report from May summing up 2013 said “the annual financial profile of America’s franchised new-car dealerships—shows a robust and highly competitive industry that is helping boost the U.S. economy. Last year, for example, dealerships employed more than 1 million people in their communities.”

Now here’s Jeb talking about economic growth and taxation:

Our nation’s economy used to grow at 3.5 to 4 percent, that was the norm throughout all but the last 15 years … we had a stable and growing middle class … now, in spite of the last few months which have been good economic news, the new normal if you talk to the smart people that decide these things, the new normal is 1.5 to 2 percent growth. And the challenge with that is, if we’re to grow at that rate, kind of the European economic model, we’re not going to be able to build the kind of capacity for people to pursue their dreams as they see fit … No amount of exotic forms of taxation proposed by our president or the progressives in this country comes close to the kind of revenue that government would get if we were to grow at 3.5 or 4 percent a year.
Jeb tries to shrug off the “last few months” as some sort of meaningless fluke. But we’ve had back-to-back quarters of growth faster than what Jeb desires: 4.6 and 5 percent.

Furthermore, despite this being his first 2016 stump speech, Jeb seems to have not updated his numbers since the recent boomlet. “The smart people” at the Federal Reserve and the National Association of Business Economics foresee a solid year for growth in 2015 at around 3 percent.

And contrary to Jeb’s attack on progressives, all this growth is happening after President Obama installed the most progressive tax code in 35 years.

When talking about the history of growth, Jeb is forced to deride “the last 15 years” of subpar performance, encompassing his brother’s tenure without calling him out by name. But his brother’s record matters in this history. George W. Bush famously cut taxes, only to preside over the biggest economic recession since the Great Depression. Before that, President Clinton simultaneously experienced strong economic growth while raising taxes on the wealthy.

So why is Jeb using “fuzzy math” to pit progressive taxation against economic growth?

Jeb’s ideological blinders get stronger as he turns to how he would improve economic growth. His first prescription: “We need to reform our health care system … Obamacare is clearly a job killer.”

Huh? Let’s check the record: The Obama economy has created more than 10 million private sector jobs since of the recession in mid-2009 (Obamacare was signed into law March 2010). Compare that to the Bush economy, which lost 462,000 private sector jobs.

We proved that we can simultaneously regulate health care and create jobs. But we can’t fail to regulate Wall Street and still create jobs.

The final bizarre part of Jeb’s address was his recommendations for energy policy.
Talking as if we are still living in George W. Bush’s America, Jeb complains that we are too dependent on foreign oil: “$300 billion left our country to countries that either are unstable and could hate us if there was regime change, or already do hate us.”

But once again contradicting himself, he acknowledges how energy independent we’ve become in recent years, following his critique by observing “the United States is fast becoming the largest producer of oil and gas in the world.”

In fact, on Obama’s watch we’ve slashed the amount of oil we import from those awful regimes, because of the oil and gas boom Jeb lauds and Obama’s environmental regulations Jeb ignores.

Jeb proceeds to praise the fracking-fueled rise in natural gas production, and when describing his energy policy recommendations, he insinuates federal regulators are acting in a hostile way to the industry: “Washington shouldn’t try to regulate hydraulic fracking out of business. It should be done reasonably and thoughtfully to protect the natural environment, but it shouldn’t be done with the intent of paralyzing it.”

Who in Washington is Jeb talking about trying to kill fracking? Not President Obama. Here’s what Obama said about fracking in the 2014 State of the Union address: “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades. One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
In turn, the EPA has done nothing to paralyze fracking – as Jeb himself mentioned, we’re number one! 

Instead, the EPA is working on methane emission regulations so natural gas lives up to the promise of being a net benefit for the climate. This regulatory strategy has been chosen precisely to negate the push to ban fracking. Jeb’s argument is textbook straw man, undercut by his own admission of the oil and gas boom happening under Obama.

Jeb wants to be seen as the grown-up in the 2016 field, the one person big enough to resist pandering to fringe right-wing factions, the one person you can trust to govern in a serious manner. But his incoherent policy speech is not serious, however soberly it was delivered. He is honest enough to mention the good things that have happened in the last six years, but not brave enough to acknowledge how they happened and adjust his ideological assumptions in response. As a result, his stump speech is incoherent mush.

He may be relatively sane compared to Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee or Chris Christie. He may even be more competent than his brother. But we should have a high bar for who becomes president. This contradictory mess of a speech falls well short.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Boehner's Treason?

US Speaker of the House John Boehner listens as US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Bloomberg)
Speaker of the House John Boehner listens as President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Bloomberg)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 January 15

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court....
– United States Constitution, Article III, section 3

nviting a hostile head of state to challenge the U.S. president from the shelter of the U.S. Congress may not rise to the level of “levying war” in the literal sense. But it is surely an act of virtual war that recklessly raises the stakes of drawing the U.S. into more actual wars from Gaza to Iran.

Lacking any lawful authority to conduct foreign policy, Congressman John Boehner has invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress in direct opposition to the American president. This kind of vigilante foreign policy is tantamount to a declaration of war on the constitutional authority of the executive branch. It is also a deliberate effort to destroy the possibility of peaceful relations with Iran, in the midst of serious negotiation headed toward normalization. Defending the U.S. against the threat of peace is a traditionally mindless Republican stance. It becomes an obscenity when it is rooted in nothing more substantial than Israeli intransigence.

Here’s the way Boehner failed to explain his interference in the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs:

I did not consult with the White House. The Congress can make this decision on its own. I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president, last night [in the State of the Union], kind of papered over it. And the fact is, is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.

First he admits he’s a partisan lone wolf. Then he lies about Congress making a decision, when he made the decision on his own without bringing it close to a vote; he also falsifies Congressional authority in foreign policy. He then either lies about poking anyone in the eye, or admits he’s in denial. Then he jumps to fearmongering, ignoring the reality that Iran has been engaged in multi-state negotiations for months now. Then he pretends to want a more serious conversation, when he and his colleagues have been crying wolf about the “Iranian bomb” for more than two decades. Then he compounds his lies and fearmongering by conflating Iran with “radical Islamic jihadists” of the sort Saudi Arabia has been cultivating for more than 40 years. Nice piece of work for a presumed “patriot.” 

Is Boehner “adhering to the enemies” of the United States? 

Since the Speaker of the House is unlikely to confess to any sort of treason in open court, as he should, the charge of treason against this Ohio Republican and his co-conspirators will be constitutionally tricky to make. But it needs to be made, no matter how belatedly.

Sacrificing our Constitution in an effort to turn American troops into Israel’s proxy army looks very much like the moral equivalent of treason.

The case of Republican treason needs to be made now, and should have been made long since, against the party that has waged metaphorical war against the United States at least since 2009. Granted, the Republican war has not resorted to the kind of military violence meant by “war” in orthodox constitutional construction. But GOP behavior has been war all the same, unrelenting and destructive, against both the president and the very purpose of the Constitution as expressed in its preamble. The only “general welfare” consistently supported by Republicans is military. The rest of their agenda is determined by sectarian spite and corruption.

While not literally “levying war,” Boehner and his party come much closer to actually adhering to the enemies of the United States. But wait, does that mean Israel is an “enemy” of the United States? Good question. We hear over and over about the United States being a friend to Israel, but how is that friendship reciprocated? Enemies of the United States have again and again enticed the United States to embrace the tar baby of endless war in the Middle East, with decades of success to show for it. Israel now entices the U.S. again toward war with Iran. When Israel wants what our enemies want, what does that make Israel? Not much of a friend.

Let’s put it another way: what other head of state from anywhere in the world would be invited to come before Congress to promote intransigence and bellicosity, in direct opposition to the White House’s policy? Boehner may not be adhering to our enemies, but he’s certainly adhering to an extreme and dangerous foreign policy that many of our enemies would enjoy watching us suffer. 

Is Boehner “giving aid and comfort” to our enemies? 

Boehner-Netanyahu hardline policies may give pause to an Iranian government, but not in a way useful to the rest of the world. Boehner-Netanyahu policies are designed to kill negotiation, kill accommodation, and if need be kill peace. There is no greater good at the end of the Boehner-Netanyahu just-say-no road. What Boehner-Netanyahu-ism wants, at a minimum, is permanent, unremediated hostility punctuated by bursts of bloodshed.

Other nations who wish the United States no good can watch the “indispensible nation” dispense itself in further futility while they enjoy their schadenfreude from a safe, noncombatant distance. Watching the United States bleed in another misbegotten crusade will almost surely give our enemies, if not aid, then considerable comfort at least.

Boehner’s traitorous embrace of Netanyahu’s assault on American governance is a betrayal of trust, whether they realize it or not, against all Americans. Boehner has launched another Republican attack on a fundamental constitutional principle – but we can count on Democrats to be brightly up in arms about it, right? No, the silence is deafening, the defense of the Constitution nil.

Referring to Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress, the most that Rep. Nancy Pelosi had to say was: “I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.” Others in her party are saying less or nothing.

Why is the U.S. Congress failing to defend a basic principle of the U.S. Constitution? The key, perhaps, lies in what Pelosi said in 2010, when she was still speaker of the House:

We in Congress stand by Israel, something we have a joint bipartisan commitment. No separation between us on this subject. In Congress we speak with one voice on the subject of Israel. Together we remain committed to advancing the peace process, preserving Israel’s security, responsible sanctions against Iran, working to finalize Iran sanctions bill right now.

So the Constitution is wrong about our bi-cameral system. We don’t have a Congress comprising the Senate and the House, we have some other country’s Knesset.

It’s not enough to suggest that the Boehner-Netanyahu challenge to U.S. sovereignty is inappropriate or unhelpful. Someone should be saying it’s provocative, outrageous, dishonest, and warmongering. Anyone?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years of experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.



+83 # babalu 2015-01-25 19:03
Thank you for your well reasoned article. The Republicans once again dip their toes in Unconstitutiona l, anti-American waters! They need to be called out on it every time - Israeli or no Israeli! McCain is another one - palling around with people in Libya and Syria and then pulling a shrub-like - I looked into their eyes and I believe them when they say they are for Democracy.
+24 # ritawalpoleague 2015-01-26 05:26
In reply to babalu, thank you too, and thanks also to Wm. M. Boardman for his "...well reasoned article."

In response to Boardman's last line request, yes, I do agree that it's "... provocative, ooutrageous, and warmongering." And, also, yet more karlroving dirty trickery.

It doesn't take a prophet to predict what Zionist Netanyahu is going to ploy we the dumbed down sheeple with: need for U.S. to continue giving billions each year (war machinery galore, to the joy of the MIC) to him and his 'let's destroy Gaza' country. And, glorify 'more war against terrorists' the greedy plus and need for power over all Netanyahu will.

McCain, a puppet for the 1%ers just as is Netanyahu, will love all the $$$$$ he gets, for what the endless warmongers so need - endless war for $$$ and oil, oil,

Bushwhacked, Kochsucked, and AIPAC'd we are. Damn.
-26 # tpmco 2015-01-26 05:37
Well, doesn't democracy produce wealth? Does history have to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer?

I do take issue, however, with this notion that somehow Mr. Boner has acted against the Constitution. I see it as opening a whole new avenue into dealing with these pricky foreign policy issues. I think you can chalk one up for Obama on this trap, when it's all said and done.

Sometimes, ya' just gotta love this guy.
+4 # reiverpacific 2015-01-26 11:21
Quoting tpmco:
Well, doesn't democracy produce wealth? Does history have to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer?

I do take issue, however, with this notion that somehow Mr. Boner has acted against the Constitution. I see it as opening a whole new avenue into dealing with these pricky foreign policy issues. I think you can chalk one up for Obama on this trap, when it's all said and done.

Sometimes, ya' just gotta love this guy.

So are you one of the millions of deluded somnambulists who have been conned into thinking that "Capitalism=Freedom=Democracy?
If so, the implications of "Boner's" gesture of typical reactionary TeaThuglican reckless hubris will completely evade you!
+59 # indian weaver 2015-01-25 20:47
If this weren't my country, I'd be laughing at this wild theater. As an American, I think this is the beginning of the most significant dialogue our government has had in awhile, because the 2 major players now really hate each other (even more, to put it nicely). And these 2 players are supposed to "run America the Country"? Yikes. Gulp. Give it time ... a long fuse on this one, many fuses. We're all going to get fat eating popcorn. The damage is done. "Le Denouement" - now playing. The Congressional Republicans vs. The Executive Branch? What happened to the Democrats? Aren't they involved at all? How weird.