Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You are: We Shadows Know

Can't Hide, Even the Shadow Knows

One in the Shadows, One More to Go


This post is a topic worth following, and one I have a big interest in, and also like millions of others who feel helpless in a losing battle about the what concerns me: (1) truly representative government, (2) less big money corrupting the system (and yes it is corrupt), and (3) what “we the people” is supposed to really mean. I don’t intend to sound to sound like a TEA type, 'cause I am not, but I am concerned about those three topics and be as honest and realistic as possible on those topics, so here goes.

The Koch brother’s latest push is to reform the criminal justice system. It is both an effort that has made allies out of former enemies and softened the billionaire Koch’s image as their lead man, Mark Holden, their top lawyer and a close adviser, who also happens to be a former jail guard with a decades-long interest in criminal justice issues, shuttles back and forth between Wichita and Washington to champion legislation to reduce the prison population and to give ex-felons second chances. (Note: I presume job offers will also be made the Koch’s to help that transition from prison to work?).

So, Lawyer Holden spends most of his time highlighting one of the few political beliefs of the Koch’s that some liberals find palatable (i.e., prison reform and second chances), thereby tempering the blowback that their enormous political spending has generated in other areas found unpalatable.

That blowback (Holden’s description) can be traced back (he says) the hateful article against the brothers back to 2010 written by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, who published a 10,000-word piece about the Koch brothers’ under-the-radar conservative political network, labeled: “Covert Operations,” and no, before you look, it’s not an article about SEAL Team 6 running a “covert Op” to knock off another bin-Laden terrorist in some mountain stronghold someplace, either.

The Mayer article, which is pretty darn good, shows how the Koch’s have given hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and rightwing/and their stanch libertarian causes.

Even now this early, for 2016, they have already pledged to raise and spend a cool $900 million (report from NPR) and here from the NY Times and here from the Washington Post. Yeah – yeah, that much – and all to buy the President they want.

So, no wonder they are no longer under the radar and rightly so. They are now in plain sight with one goal for the country to see: to fund, buy, and own most, if not, every aspect of government and thus, the country. That is harsh reality and the power of massive money that the Supreme Court unleashed on the country in the name of money is speech.”  So, based on that alone, hide your dictionaries and not as they say: “the DEMS are coming for your guns” – ha – the Koch’s are coming for your Scrabble set, Thesaurus, Macmillan, Merriam-Webster, and Cambridge word sources.

Related article here from SlateMoney Isn't Speech and Corporations Aren't People

On top of that and all over the political map, a small handful of billionaires are up to the same old technique: dump billions and buy the kind of government they want for their own greedy ways. Some may say that is good – but, how can it be?  

Representative government is supposed to mean from the people up; not from the money down. It appears that in their eyes that whoever has and spends the most money ends up with the most representative government for them and their interests and not yours or mine, and they have a good number of representatives tucked neatly in their pocket, or if you choose, firmly in their wallet to prove it.

Words worth remembering from the Citizens United (5-4) ruling from Justice John Paul Stevens dissent: “This ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path the Court has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” 

Thanks for stopping by ... as I said, a serious topic that impacts us in the end!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Def: for Word "Dark" and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) - in More Hot Water (maybe)
(Certainly in the Dark Shadows)


The Dark Money story to the Dark Candidate in WI, Gov. Scott Walker (R) from here, edited in part to fit this Blog – a good read and report – needs follow-up, too.

Background: John Menard Jr. is the richest man in Wisconsin  who is a tough-minded, staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire who owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest. He  is famously publicity-shy — rarely speaking in public or giving interviews.

Three years ago, when he wanted to back Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions have said. Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth — a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election — seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company in two key ways:

1.  In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

2.  In his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of National Resources — a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, strongly denied that the governor had provided any special favors for Menard and said Walker was “not involved” in the decision to award his firm tax credits, which were approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for expansions of existing facilities in order to create jobs. 

David Rivkin, a lawyer for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, said he could not discuss any contributors to the group but added in an email: “Wisconsin Club for Growth has never advocated on behalf of any specific individuals or corporations. Rather, it has vigorously advocated on behalf of issues and causes that are consistent with its philosophy of limited government, free markets and individual liberty.”

Some court records that have been made public about the new fundraising probe, known as “John Doe 2,” show that, when he first faced a potential recall election in 2011, Walker had personally solicited donations to the Wisconsin Club for Growth in order “to ensure correct messaging” in ads that were supporting his policies, according to an email sent by one of his fundraisers. His aides referred to the group as “your 501c 4,” a reference to the provision of the tax code under which non-disclosing advocacy groups are organized. (Um... maybe quid pro quo after all)...

One federal judge, concluding that the investigation was a violation of the free-speech rights of the advocacy groups, ordered last year that the probe be shut down and directed prosecutors “to permanently destroy” all the evidence they had obtained.

That order was later reversed, and next month the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the investigation should proceed. The outcome could well determine whether Walker will be confronted with questions about the secret donations — and any benefits the contributors might have received — while he runs for president.

Gerald C. Nichol, a retired judge who chairs the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, the state agency that enforces state election laws, strongly disputed that there were any political motives behind the investigation. “I have seen nothing in terms of political bias. This is not a witch hunt,” he said (Note: Nichol is former Republican district attorney originally appointed to his post by DEM Gov. James Doyle and then reappointed by Walker in 2012). 

Nichol also said: “This is a way of giving money to a campaign and not having it identified, and the amount involved. I find this disturbing to the system generally. I don’t care if it’s on the Republican or Democratic side. Both of them are now using this.” 

Still, the funds from Menard — and other hefty secret donations to nonprofit groups closely aligned with Walker — could loom larger as the Wisconsin governor emerges as a top-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Stay tuned .. this ain't over yet, especially with Walker's ties the Koch billions, too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Official Conservative: "God-Told-Me-To-Run" in 2016

God Sent Me to Ruin the Country, I Mean "Run" the Country

Another Rick Perry "Oops" Moment 
(Where is Donald Trump Demands)


Some are calling Cruz the male version of Sarah Palin ... it’s a great comparison and with this headline grabber, and some of things he said.

"I am the Conservative  candidate for president"


He also said:I want to talk to you this morning about reigniting the promise of America.” (I like his choice of the word "ignite")!!

“Amen” was heard in the audience.

Then the crowd broke out in chants of “Ted! Ted! Ted!” when Cruz finally got to the point of the speech: “Today, I am announcing that I'm running for president of the United States.”

Cruz was treated to a hero’s welcome at that evangelical location, Liberty University, when he became the first major candidate to officially jump into the 2016 presidential race. The GOP firebrand from Texas delivered a speech in a packed auditorium.  

All I can say is Praise the Lord, and I pray he gets the GOP-Conservative general election ballot slot ... please, oh pretty please.  

I have to wonder, though: did God actually hear and send him there with his “conservative" message – you know the one I mean. The message he and those like him claim is “truly conservative.” Yeah the one. The one that's harsh and nasty, but still “conservative.” Like “sticking it to the poor, the hungry, the homeless; and screwing over low-income workers and the downtrodden, and of course the sick ...” WWJD????  

Now might be a good time for that infamous Rick Perry “oops” moment. “Conservative message, conservative candidate, conservative policy would be forthcoming?” 

Okee dokee. Well, at least it outta be fun if nothing else. One helluva ride for sure.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mandatory Voting Yes, Transformative — but FOX Lies About It




What Mr. Obama really said... watch and read the script ... is own words (about 2-minutes):

“We shouldn’t be making it harder to vote. We should be making it easier to vote. … So my Justice Department is going to be vigorous in terms of trying to enforce voting rights. I gave a speech down in Selma at the 50th anniversary; that was incredibly moving for me and my daughters. And the notion that in this day and age we would be deliberately trying to restrict the franchise makes no sense. And at the state and local levels you can push back against that, and make sure we’re expanding the franchise, not restricting it. In Australia and some other countries, there’s mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country. Because the people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower-income, they’re skewed more heavily toward immigrant groups and minority groups. They’re often the folks who are scratching and climbing to get into the middle class, and they’re working hard. And there’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls; we should want to get them into the polls. So that may end up being a better strategy in the short-term. In the long-term, I think it would be fun to have a constitutional amendment process about how our financial system works. But realistically, given the requirements of that process, it would be a long-term proposition.”

Now what FOX said - the LIE part, which we've grown to expect from FOX HERE - one of their several clips at that site.

FOX: Unfair, Unbalanced and again Unhinged.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sen. Cruz "End campaign money limits" — Rep. Schock Agreed

We Don't Need Any Limits on Campaign Money ... 

Sen. John McCain Called Cruz a "Wacko Bird"


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (on March 8, 2013 here) criticized his fellow Republicans for their filibuster of incoming CIA Director John O. Brennan over drone policy. In an interview with the Huffington Post, McCain referred to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) as “wackos,” then adding they were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else. But I also think that when, you know, it's always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.”  When asked to clarify, McCain said he was referencing “Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Justin Amash, whoever.”  McCain then 8 days later issued an apology.

Um… actually I think McCain was premature about his apology based on this story. Ted Cruz really is a wacko bird based on this from him recently while in New Hampshire, he advocated “no limits on political cash – none at all.”

Cruz advocates the “no limits in exchange for instant disclosure” further saying that deep-pocketed donors should have the same rights to write giant campaign checks as voters have to put signs in their front yards calling them both “free speech.” When he was asked about the outsized role of money in politics Cruz said he understands voters' frustration but that cannot trump the constitutional rights to free speech, the answer is not to muzzle citizens. It is to empower citizens he said.  After the session, one activist gave Cruz a blank check and told him to write it for whatever amount he needed. 

Accepting that check would trigger an official entrance into a Republican primary, so he declined but told an aide to follow up with the man after his campaign is made official, if it is.

My views are consistent and have been for years. Yes, it does take money to run an effective campaign, no doubt about that, but the amounts, sources, and ties are the issue.

When one person can give (Sheldon Adelson in 2012 for example and not to pick on him, but an excellent example) can give $100 million and not blink an eye … questions arise. Is that his free speech vs. my $1,000 free speech (example)?

Koch brothers are not pledging to raise and spend nearly $1 billion in 2016 – what do they expect in return? They only have one vote just like you and I but deep pockets – um… does not seem very representative to me?

Having all the money in the world and pouring it into a campaign does not always equal a win (cite: Adelson and Koch both in 2012), but the ability to give that much sure hampers lesser amounts of money – that competition thing.

  
Thus if the unlimited amounts money issue prevails along with let ‘er rip attitude, then it seems to follow that billionaires will own all the vocabulary in the world and every dictionary in sight.

Sure seems like that to me especially as people like Cruz cling to the “money equals free speech” nonsense – yes, it may be rightly called speech – but are millionaires and billionaires entitled to more speech than anyone else in America? I Hardly think so.

Now sprinkle in GOP Rep. Aaron Schock resigning from Congress due string of ethics charges ...

Add Aaron Schock to the Wacko Bird Nest

And, here, step into his DC Congressional Office ... wow ... yeah, wow... so, it's not the money and power, right - BS.

This Is What Rep. Aaron Schock’s Decadent Office Actually Looks Like?!




GOP Hates Big Government: How About This WTF Moment

Droopy Knows Best - His Appearance Reflects That Attitude


GOP Redneck goobers always project a strong attitude about too much government, right???? 

Call this a Rick Perry “Oops” moment - story from here.

$200 Fine or 30 Days in Jail for Sagging Pants?


A Louisiana city is trying to pass an ordinance to make it a crime to sag your pants.

From the ACLU to the Opelousas, LA City Council:

From news reports on KATC.com, the ACLU of Louisiana has learned that the City of Opelousas plans to consider an ordinance to regulate the attire of people in Opelousas.  We understand that the ordinance will be based on one in Ville Platte, and based on the text of that ordinance, we urge you to not to support that proposal, which is a violation of the Constitutional rights of the people of Opelousas.

As we understand it, the ordinance to be proposed will provide that “Pants worn by any person, regardless of age, should be size appropriate and secured at the waist to prevent the pants from falling more than three inches below the hips (crest of the ilium).”  The penalties would include fines and community service, if they are consistent with those currently in place in Ville Platte.

This letter is to advise you that clothing is a form of expression protected under the Constitution of the United States. To ban a particular clothing style would violate a liberty interest guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US  Constitution.  In Kelley v. Johnson, 425 U.S. 238, 244 (1976), the US Supreme Court assumed without deciding that individuals have a liberty interest in their personal appearance.  This has been affirmed by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, among others, Lansdale v. Tyler Junior College, 470 F.2d 659, 663 (5th Cir. 1972) (en banc), cert. denied, 411 U.S. 986 (1973) .  

The government must demonstrate a rational basis for its ban – and Opelousas has no legitimate rational basis for regulating the attire of its residents.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ides of March: Pile On, But Leave the GOP Büllshït at Home

JEB in the Middle - Caution Advised in that Position

He was in the middle at one time, too
(Julius Caesar, Ides of March 44 BC)

HAPPY IDES OF MARCH ... from the Washington Post here, in part (with my blog spin, natch):

Nothing beats an old-fashioned hypocrite ... So, if you want a real double-talking, bullshitting hypocrite, well I serve up on a silver platter, John Ellis (JEB) Bush - I call "Jeb the Jerk...."

He is actively considering a run for president and has sharply criticized the likely Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton for her use of a private e-mail account when she served as secretary of state. 

Mr. Bush called it “baffling” that Clinton didn’t consider the potential security risks of discussing diplomatic and national security issues by using an e-mail account not tied to a government server.

Now the et tu, Brute moment: An unknown number of e-mails housed on Mr. Bush’s server were redacted or withheld from public release because they contained sensitive security issues, Bush representatives have said. 

Oops ...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Change the Dynamics of Elections: Get What the Public Needs

First: Stop Serving This

Second: Kill, Stuff, and Mount This


Two things are needed to fix our current broken political system because fixing it will ensure that “we, the people,” indeed are able to get the kind of government we want and not the kind that the big moneyed backers tell us what they think we need. 

Those two things right up front are:

(1)  Reform the method of how congressional district lines are drawn rid the system of protecting incumbents and their parties (from both sides).

(2) Shut down or dramatically turn off the massive amounts of uncontrolled money in the system spent in political campaigns. The one that is protected by the courts in the name of “free speech.”

If these two steps are taken and solved everything else would fall into place to favor the people.

Right now the public at large feels helpless and at the mercy of those in office based on the first two items listed above. Apathy overshadows logic. All that first assumes that the “right to vote” will be allowed, in fact restored to pre-high courts rulings that gutted the Voting Rights Act (‘cause now it’s under serious fire with those asinine voter ID laws).

That is why the current equation must change, but probably won't – so, why not?

Short Answer: First, the big interest groups (read: those who provide the trucks to haul the money and in fact, the money) to ensure that those in office are tied to policies they want. Those in office make the rules like a protection racket or some new Bernie Madoff scheme.

Members of Congress surely make the rules, yet they also breaks them and then project a “so what” attitude, daring the public to stop them.

Do not expect those in power shut off the big money or kill the proverbial golden goose that keeps them in power for as long as they choose, and do nothing about redistricting that keeps them in office without much open competition.

Any mindset that thinks differently by any standard or measurement or point of view is patently wrong. Solutions are sorely needed and the key question is how and when?

This post, I think, outlines a clear path to take and follow

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sequestration Worry Warts Hope to Plug Self-Inflicted Damage

    

Democrats
Republicans
Senate members
Patty Murray, Washington, Co-Chair
Max Baucus, Montana
John Kerry, Massachusetts
Jon Kyl, Arizona
Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania
House members
Xavier Becerra, California
Jim Clyburn, South Carolina
Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
Jeb Hensarling, Texas, Co-Chair
Fred Upton, Michigan
Dave Camp, Michigan
The Super-Committee Members
(invoked the sequestration mandate)


The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, colloquially referred to as the Super-committee, was a joint select committee of the United States Congress, created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 2, 2011.

It was intended to prevent the sovereign default that could have resulted from the 2011 United States debt-ceiling crisis. The objective of the committee was to develop a deficit reduction plan over 10 years in addition to the $917 billion of cuts and initial debt limit increase of $900 billion in the Budget Control Act of 2011 that avoided a U.S. sovereign default.

The committee recommendation was to have been subject to a simple vote by the full legislative bodies without amendment; this extraordinary provision was included to limit partisan gridlock.

The goal outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011 was to cut at least $1.5 trillion over the coming 10 years, (avoiding much larger “sequestration" across-the-board automatic cuts which would be equal to the debt ceiling increase of $1.2 trillion incurred by Congress through a failure to produce a deficit reduction bill), therefore, bypassing Congressional debate and resulting in a passed bill by December 23, 2011. 

On November 21, 2011, the committee concluded its work. They issued a joint statement that began with the following: “After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.”

The committee was formally terminated on January 31, 2012, and here we are today facing full sequestration. Again, those automatic budget cuts to defense and discretionary spending.

A quick review tells us that any such cuts were designed to be as clumsy and inflexible as possible, in order to motivate lawmakers to come up with a better approach (which they could not back in 2011 during normal budget negotiations) – hence this pressure to make them agree.

Now that is why all agency heads have very little discretion (if any) say so about which programs are would be hit by the automatic cuts since they were designed to inflict maximum suffering on both parties' priorities with very little wiggle room to mitigate the pain, e.g., Republicans would be motivated to compromise to keep defense spending from being axed, and Democrats would come to the table to protect domestic programs.

Today, Republicans are focused on pinning the sequestration blame squarely on President Obama (who they said came up with the idea). He in turn can point Congress (and Speaker Boehner who had agreed to it along with Mr. Obama) as the culprits.

The House voted for it on an overwhelming, bipartisan basis. They agreed to it – the sequestration – but actually none of them wanted it to happen.

So, in classic Washington fashion and doublespeak as it were, they all thought they could assign the hard work to somebody else and get them to do it (the super-committee). Boy, have they all been terribly wrong.

In summary, the super-committee was supposed to forge a deal that President Obama and Speaker Boehner could not reach in their July 2011 debt-ceiling talks.

Thus it was this hypothetical future deficit reduction that got Republicans, grudgingly, to agree to raise the debt limit. And, now here we are in a shit sandwich and only one way out: repeal the sequestration now and stop the bleeding, especially with the military about to get a really huge axe – and the timing could not at a worse time.

Funny in a sick ironic sort of way that the old WWI slogan: “Loose lips sink ships” comes into focus making me wonder if our enemies are taking notes. They probably are and enjoying every moment of it. And, that conjures up an image of Jaws ... an enemy on the move towards us that will depend on how we fast we react to any needed manpower and war funding against them:



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Weasels Also Use Email Whenever They Get Good Access

Woodpecker Takes Weasel On the Ride of Its Life
Candidate for Photo of the Century (maybe)

Before you ask and before reading the post, no, the above photo is not a fake, and has not been photo shopped. A British man snapped the now-viral photo of a baby weasel hitching a ride on a woodpecker.  The story is here from Martin Le-May who says he was out for a walk with his wife in a London Park, when they heard a “distressed squawking,” looked up, saw this sight, and snapped the pic. Kudos to Mr. Le-May. I then thought that photo would fit nicely to my post for today, which I refuse to call “Hillary's email-gate.” But, a lot of GOP and Rightwing weasels are sure trying to hitch a ride on that story and milk it for all the air miles they can muster.

The AP has filed a lawsuit (FOIA) today against the State Department to force them to release emails and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state just one day after Clinton broke her silence about her use of a private email account.

The AP is seeking copies of Clinton's full schedules and calendars as well as documents related to her department's decision to grant a special position to longtime aide Huma Abedin (*Anthony Weiner's wife). Also, emails from longtime advisers Philippe Reines and Cheryl Mills, who, like Abedin, will likely play central roles in a Clinton presidential campaign.

National Security is strongly in view here and caution in the release of info is critical – and yes, agencies do need some secrets…. And releasing secret documents is always a dicey proposition,

The lawsuit seeks materials related to her public and private calendars, correspondence involving longtime aides likely to play key roles in her expected campaign for president, and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid, and NSA surveillance practices.

State Department spokesman declined to comment saying State’s heavy annual load of FOIA requests — 19,000 last year — always does its best to meet all FOIA responsibilities., adding it’s a strict policy of “first in, first out” and the that timing also depends on “the complexity of the request” on a case-by-case basis and finishing by saying the whole process will take several months to review and once the review is complete, they will be posted online.

Clinton said she sent and received about 60,000 emails from her personal email address in the 4 years (2009-2013) that she was Secretary of State adding that roughly half were work-related, which she turned over to the State Department, while deleting tens of thousands more that were personal in nature (deaths of relatives, birth of granddaughter and personal emails between her and Bill Clinton). 

Meanwhile across town as it were this very good coverage from MediaMatters: “How Not To Cover A Scandal: 4 Media Outlets Walking Back Reports in the Clinton Feeding Frenzy”  

The New York Times: 

1. Insinuated that Clinton Broke Law With Use of Non-Government Email. In a March 2 report they insinuated that Hillary Clinton “may have violated federal requirements.” Their key source was Jason R. Baron, who claimed that Clinton's “exclusive use of her private email, for all of her work, appears unusual.” (Fact: she “s not the first government official - or first secretary of state – to use a personal email account on which to conduct official business.”) [The New York Times, 3/2/15]

2.  Key Source Undercuts Central Claim, Saying Clinton Didn't Violate The Law. According to CNN's political producer, the Times' key source Baron, a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, said that Clinton did not “violate” the law after the Times article was published. [CNN political producer Dan Merica, 3/3/15, via Twitter]

3.  Public Editor Admits Original Story “Was Not Without Fault.”  The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan, responded to criticism of the paper's initial reporting stating the story “was not without fault” and “should have been clearer about precisely what regulations might have been violated.” [The New York Times3/8/15]

The Associated Press:

1.  Reported a “Mysterious Identity” Linked to Clinton Emails on “Homebrew Server.”  They initially alleged that a “homebrew” email server, used to transmit Clinton's emails, and registered to her home in New York, was traced “to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham,” noting that the name Eric Hoteham doesn't appear in public records. [Associated Press, 3/4/15]

2.  Walks Back “Mysterious Identity” Behind Clinton Email Account and Allegations of Clinton Running a “Homebrew” Server. Later, they shifted from claiming that the server “traced back to an Internet service registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, New York” to stating: “It was not immediately clear exactly where Clinton's home computer server was run.” Acknowledging the server was registered to Eric Hoteham, the AP clarified that Hoteham was an aide to Clinton and considered “one of the family's information technology experts” and that his name was actually spelled Hothem. [Associated Press, 3/5/15]  

The Washington Post: 

1.  Initially Implied State Department Was Reviewing Whether Clinton Violated Security Policies. On March 6, their report suggested that the purpose behind a State Department review was to determine whether Clinton's use of a private email account “violated policies designed to protect sensitive information.” [The Washington Post3/6/15]

2.  Forced to Clarify the Purpose Behind State's Review.  Erik Wemple (at the Post) pointed out a later version of the article significantly changed the headline and updated language to clarify that the purpose of the State Department's review of Clinton's email was "to determine whether they can be released to the public, adding that while the initial headline “asserts a purpose behind the review,” the second headline “suggests that any such finding would be incidental.” [The Washington Post, Erik Wemple Blog, 3/6/15]

Politico: 

1.  Asserted that Clinton's Private Email Violated “Clear Cut” State Department Rules from 2005.  On March 5, they claimed that Clinton's use of a private email account was at odds with a “clear cut” 2005 policy used to “warn officials against routine use of personal email accounts for government work.” [Politico3/5/15, via Internet archive]

2.  Clarified Limits of the 2005 Policy, Which Does Not Automatically Apply to Use of Personal Email. An updated version of the Politico article quoted a State Department official who explained that the 2005 policy “is limited to records containing such sensitive information” and added: “Reports claiming that by using personal email she is automatically out of step of that FAM are inaccurate.” [Politico3/6/15]

I know this post is long and maybe even a bit dry and boring (I hope not boring),  but I wanted to document it as much as possible before the FOIA’s are honored and we see the emails released on-line as State said, so here is my conclusion and quick view:

FOIA requests for official stuff from officials in government at all levels, yes; I have no problem with that. But, is it necessarily just to get requests for “all” that could include personal information /private talk as it were. So, who gets to decide which is which about “all being released?"

That is a key question.

However, what we do not need (from anyone) is a witch hunt just for the sake of another witch hunt. Why does the AP seem to have a need (or suspect there is a reason for a new FOIA) about the Osama bin-Laden raid and NSA domestic snooping. Both of those areas have a very long and detailed traveled road with a ton of paperwork. \

Looking for something new just for the sake of looking, or hoping to find Zebras in a forest – well, Zebras don’t live in forests, and hoping to find dirt for another scandal that ends up nowhere – a non-starter for me unless the result were Earth-shattering and this about Hillary’s emails is just that, I believe.

So, welcome to the 24/7 instant and rapid 30-second news we need now so we can all hurry up and watch and get to the next “hot” tip in Amerika that looks more like one great big expansion of a Hollywood gossip page. 

George Orwell would have a field day living in this era.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weasels Я Us Award: GOP's Leading Candidate for 2015

Not Only Leading Weasel of the Year Candidate, but also Hypocrite of the Year


This story here comes from Media MattersIt is about more raw GOP blatant hypocrisy that is carefully documented in the article, in part, just as the poster above reflects.

It deals with Rep. Harold Watson “Trey” Gowdy III (R-SC), who is now the head of the GOP’s newest House Committee on Benghazi (their so-called “select” committee). Mr. Gowdy in my view should be reprimanded and fired from that committee, either as the chairman or as a sitting member – and immediately if not sooner.

Key parts of the story include:

1.  Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will be headlining a fundraising event for the Virginia Republican Party apparently centered on the topic of the Benghazi, which would contradict his repeated pledges not to raise money off of the 2012 attacks

2.  According to the report, the event will feature “… a screening and an interview of Gowdy, moderated by Rep. Howard Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9th).”

3.  The VA GOP is will be charging $75.00 for the event. But, it is also soliciting donations from $1,250.00 to $5,000.00 in exchange for “special recognition” and other perks (unnamed).

The appearance of Mr. Gowdy “raises questions about the optics of fundraising off the Benghazi attacks” as Politico has noted dismiss his previous statements not to do exactly that.

Some of Gowdy’s past statements are linked in the story.  

My View: Rep. Gowdy is a two-faced hypocrite, but hey, for a GOPer like him, haven’t we all come expect nothing less.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

RNC New Substitute Flag and Logo: Red, White, and Brown

The Face of GOP Amerika .... 
(Try to Dispute That)

GOP's "Go GREEN Project"
(Their version of "Save the Planet" is "Save the GOP")


The GOP-RNC is about to adopt a new flag and logo as they gear up for 2016. It will have three colors just like Old Glory, but with a slight twist: 

RED (for all the red-blooded secessionist-minded states).

WHITE (denotes their prime-cut conservative base).

BROWN (denotes the TEA baggers).

Seems Blue was in short supply since the DEMS have a lock on that color.

BTW: The GOP does not have a corner on patriotism that they would have us believe — not by a long shot.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Real Thing: Only One Koch Machine in Congress' Cafeteria

Lining Up to Run For or To Stay in Congress

The Money Behind the Power in Congress



Monday, March 2, 2015

GOP on Immigration: Ample Supply of #2's and Erasers

Proposed New RNC Logo to Replace the Elephant
(Known to  have great memories)


The Issue: Massive challenge to President Obama's EO on immigration.

Cue the memory loss music.

GOP Mythical Hero: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.” — President Ronald Wilson Reagan (statement in 1984)

Congressional Reaction to Mythical Hero's Call: Pass a bill that Mr. Reagan signed into law that is called: “The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (P.L. 99-603).”

That allowed between 3 and 5 million persons here illegally to immediately get green cards that put them on the path to U.S. citizenship. More in the law:

  1. Required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status;
  2. Made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
  3. Legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, and;
  4. Legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 had resided here continuously, and who faced a penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt;
  5. Required applicants to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.
 Now cue the spin cycle music.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Post-Sandy Hook: NRA "Clips and Magazines" Replinished

Funeral Procession for Some the Children Murdered at Sandy Hook Elem School in CT
(more photos at the story link below)

All that GREEN Surrounded by all that RED

NRA Attitude and GOP's, Same, Same


Meanwhile, in the bowls of the NRA (Nobody Really Aware) this exclusive from New York Daily News:  NRA Donations Soar to $96.4 million (up 11.5%) after Newtown School Massacre

A few tidbits from that article that I found both interesting and disturbing:

ALBANY, NY — Donations to the National Rifle Association soared in the aftermath of the Newtown, CT school massacre (in December 2012), new filings show.

Contributions and grants to the NRA in 2013 totaled $96.4 million, up 11.5% from the $86.4 million raised the previous year, according to the latest financial disclosure form filed by the gun group with the IRS.

The money poured in as Congress and states, including New York, debated gun control measures  following the massacre of 20 small children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a crazed gunman.

“It’s very perverse. Most Americans would have a visceral reaction toward those numbers following a tragedy where 20 (children) were slaughtered,” said said Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

NRA donations grew even as they, headed by Wayne LaPierre, actually spent less on professional fund-raising fees. For example, in 2013, they spent $7.2 million on professional fund-raisers, down from $8.5 million in 2012.

Noteworthy: Donations and grants were not the only NRA revenue to jump after Newtown:

1.  Total revenue in 2013 increased by 35.8%, to $348 million. That includes $175.6 million in membership dues.
2.  They spent $27.6 million on legislative efforts, $24.5 million on advertising, and $14.5 million on an outside public relations and advertising consultant.
3.  The NRA has 67 employees on the payroll, each makes at least $100,000.
4.  Wayne LaPierre in 2013 had a compensation package of just under $1 million.

The bottom line, if there is a bottom line? The NRA is a single issue organization (2nd Amendment) and I have no problem with that or the 2nd Amendment, and I would not change on word in it, but (but a nasty but) the NRA could do good by helping craft laws that protect gun rights yet help put a stop to gun violence, too. They are not willing to do the latter. That is why I do not and can no longer support them.

To me, the NRA is out of step with reality as they deal in one product that causes huge losses and that overall this driven by their #1 marketing ploy: “Fear-mongering” and that silly-ass message: “They are gonna take your guns.” 

Fear sells and the NRA has the money prove it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

GOP Conservative Targets: Smart Bright Savvy DEM Women

Actually, Targets

State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki (left) and Deputy Marie Harf

The article I am posting here makes me respect the media more so when they publish articles like the one below. Thus, a tip of the hat and huge kudos to Karen Finney who penned this article posted at Media Matters here. It is truly worth reading. Why? Because facts matter. Enjoy it in full at the link – here are the key parts to show facts over opinion that I wanted to emphasize:

What makes the right-wing media attacks against [Marie] Harf [following her appearance on TV discussing ways to combat terrorism and ISIS in her February 16 interview on Hardball] more egregious, despite the familiarity of the larger pattern, is that Harf is essentially saying the same thing a number of high-profile conservative men have also said previously. Yet those men weren't attacked – some were even praised. (Examples follow)

HARF drew the wrath of conservatives for commenting that: “We cannot kill our way out of this war.” For that she has been portrayed as a “…a damn naïve fool” by conservatives, who ignore her full comments, suggesting that she didn't also talk about the importance of military strikes as well as other tactics like these her further comments:

HARF: “We're killing a lot of them, and we're going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians. So are the Jordanians. They're in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term - medium and longer term - to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups.”

HARF CONTINUED WHEN ASKED IT’S NOT EASY: “You're right, there is no easy solution in the long term to preventing and combating violent extremism, but if we can help countries work at the root causes of this – what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business? Maybe we can try to chip away at this problem, while at the same time going after the threat, taking on ISIL in Iraq, in Syria, and helping our partners around the world.”

However, Rush Limbaugh certainly didn't call Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the JCS ”little girl” or say that he sounded like a ”valley girl” when he basically said the same thing about the war in Afghanistan in 2008 testimony (here):

ADM MULLEN: “We can't kill our way to victory, and no armed force anywhere – no matter how good – can deliver these keys alone. It requires teamwork and cooperation.”

While Harf and Mullen were talking about different parts of the world at different times, both made a broader point that given the nature of terrorist threats and the strategies they employ – from the way they utilize social media, finance their operations, recruit and train from all over the world, and targeting those who are most vulnerable to their message – America must have a strategy that is multi-faceted and multi-national. That strategy includes not only air strikes but also social media, helping countries build democratic institutions, and stabilizing their economy with the means for people to make a living (paraphrased).

Former President George W. Bush voiced many of those same ideas, when he connected the role that poverty and a lack of democratic institutions play in creating instability and the spread of terrorism. In a 2002 speech to the UN International Conference on Financing for Development,

MR. BUSH SAID, IN PART: “Many here today have devoted their lives to the fight against global poverty, and you know the stakes. We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror. We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity. We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it. And we fight against poverty with a growing conviction that major progress is within our reach. We will challenge the poverty and hopelessness and lack of education and failed governments that too often allow conditions that terrorists can seize and try to turn to their advantage.”

THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION (big conservative group): In their October 2003 report, they
addressed the importance of democratic institutions and civil society in stabilizing regions that can become havens for terrorists, and the connection to U.S. security in the context of Africa, also one of the poorest, regions of the world, saying in part:

“While poverty and instability alone do not breed terrorists or weapons proliferators, African nations with weak civil societies and poor law enforcement and judicial systems are vulnerable to penetration and exploitation by transnational terrorist groups.”

HARF: Regarding our mid- to long-term strategy, she said it should address root causes that compel that 17-year old to pick up a gun and fight echoed remarks by none other than former Vice President  

DICK CHENEY: In his August 2002 speech to the VFW, he made the connection between the ways poverty and oppression in the Middle East contribute to (his words) saying: “Conditions that breed despair, hatred, and violence in young people and the hope of a changed outcome in the long term.”

Note that no one suggested that Cheney's glasses were the smartest thing about him, as the Federalist did about Ms. Harf.

The whole article is at the link – enjoy.

I conclude with this:  How do we spell hypocrisy and nastiness? Oh, that’s easy: “Angry, nasty conservatives.” Not all for sure, but a good many who are in key positions where the GOP-conservative base listens and follows as they lap it up. That’s the worst part.

Those who spew that kind of nastiness know precisely what they are saying and to whom they say for. That perhaps is the worse of the worst, if that’s even possible.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

How Can a Boogle of Weasels Shut Down Homeland Security

Impact of GOP DHS Shutdown - Not Pretty
(I lived through two GOP shutdowns in the 1990's)

During the Clinton administration, after conservatives made massive congressional gains in the 1994 Republican Revolution, there were two full government shutdowns during 1995 and 1996 lasting 5 and 21 days respectively, both the longest and most severe to that date. These shutdowns led to massive furloughs and significant disruption. The primary issue was the United States budget deficit.

The federal government shutdown of 2013 ran from October 1 to October 16, 2013 over the Republican desire to delay or defund the ACA (Obama-care) which has been in effect since March 2010.

Now here we are again. This time the GOP is upset and angry about Mr. Obama’s executive order on immigration (deportation delay due mostly to GOP inaction on positive immigration reform – which we sorely need).

If they don’t get their way, expect “poison pill” amendments on “must-pass” bills … they are hell bent on getting their way no matter who suffers along the way.  

A very good 4-minute run down is here:
It is very hard for me to come close to even comprehending how anyone can serve in elected office, professing to serve the best interests of the country then stand by and advocate a shutdown of government … to me that borders on the highest form of treason: turning your back on the very structure you say you are serving with honor, pride, and dignity.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Elected Official "Mustela Nivalis:" Guns on Campus for Gals

NRA and Rightwingnuts on Campus - on the Move

"Will Save Hot Little Girls"
(Hey, not my words. See story below)

A female Nevada lawmaker (her photo a the link) is sponsoring a bill to legalize guns on college campuses in the state, a measure she says “...could prevent men from sexually assaulting young, hot little girls.”

Many gun rights advocates argue that arming female college students around the country would help reduce sexual assaults. That one in Nevada is GOPer Assemblywoman Michele Fiore.

She said in a recent telephone interview with The New York Times: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”

Spoken like a true redneck goober ässshöle, female aside, still an ässhöle to even propose something this crazy. If a man said that, they would be keelhauled in either Lake Tahoe or Mead and called a sexist.

The utter insanity about saying: “We need more, not less guns” is as asinine as saying: “We need more, not less money in political campaigns.”  

But, leave it to GOPer to advocate for both of those things regardless of the stakes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weasels in Retreat: 2015 GOP Annual Confab in Hershey, PA

Speaker Boehner and Sen. Majority "Leader" McConnell Q&A

Hang on, Barack Obama will be gone 
on January 20, 2017

From the GOP's annual party meeting ... “I note that the word retreat seems apropos...”

Republicans (there also) plotted a response if the Supreme Court knocks down health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans in the pending case. They've been tied in that knot or five years about any Obama-care alternative (that they can't seem to muster). The Court case adds urgency for them to find consensus ahead of a likely June ruling (could go either way, BTW).

Paul “Marathon” Ryan said, “We're obviously doing contingency planning for King v. Burwell. It would be wrong not to.” Then he added that there was no plan of action yet — but that discussions were ongoing (ha ...).

More broadly, the GOP “leaders” had a message for rank-and-file members: “Let's govern responsibly and focus on the art of the possible.”

Note: They seemed to downplay expectations for transformative changes while Obama remains president. 

Translation: Wait Obama out, and hope a GOPer wins the White House in 2016, and the GOP retrains their House and Senate majorities, and then go all out – balls to the walls as it were with all sorts of crazy bills and base pet projects (i.e., Koch payback if you like that word better).  

Hang on tight....it might get bumpy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Man, Myth, Money, Mindset, Malarkey, My Goodness

Joke of the Decade (1981-1989)

chart_reagan_taxes5.top.gif
As Factual as Possible

FACTS ABOUT REAGAN AND TAX AND SPENDING:

The phrase “trickle down (economics)” was actually a term coined by Will Rogers spoken during the Great Depression, and paraphrased as: “Money appropriated for the top with the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.”

More up to date the term was adopted and used during the Reagan years and simply known as “Trickle-down economics” or sometimes simply called “Reaganomics” or laissez-faire (basically that there be no government interference in business dealings).

Mr. Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, originally championed the cuts but then he became skeptical of them and even later President George H. W. Bush called them “voodoo economics.”

THE HEART OF THIS POST:

Following the GOP losses in the 1982 election, Reagan largely backed off his efforts at spending cuts even as he continued to offer the small-government rhetoric that helped get him elected. In fact, he went in the opposite direction:

1. His created the VA and that contributed to an increase in the federal workforce of more than 60,000 people during his presidency.

2.  While Reagan somewhat slowed the marginal rate of growth in the budget, it continued to increase during his time in office.

3. The national debt skyrocketed from $700 billion to $3 trillion under Reagan.

4.  After first pushing to cut Social Security benefits - and being stymied by Congress - Reagan in 1983 agreed to a $165 billion bailout of the program along with Medicare (thus funding health care – ouch).

5. He massively expanded the Pentagon budget to surpass the old USSR in the Cold War race.

6.  Reagan's tax increases did not wipe out the effects of his initial tax cuts. But they did eat up about half of it, e.g., the 1983 payroll tax hike went to pay for Social Security and Medicare and as I said: Reagan raised taxes to pay for government-run health care) – go figure.

7.  Reagan also raised the gas tax and signed the largest corporate tax increase in history.

Sources for this story are from here, here, and here.

What is amazing is that with all the GOP’s anti-Obama bashing about tax and spending programs and such how much they fail to remember (mostly on purpose) the above points. That is neither fair to Mr. Reagan or Mr. Obama and not fair and honest to the public.  

Thanks for stopping by.