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Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Daily Drift

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The Truth Hurts

Actor and comedian Eddie Izzard talks to Ora TV host Larry King [Ora TV]

You Can’t Make This Shit Up

Conservatives Now Say They Hate Spock After Obama Praises Character
Can’t Make This Up: Conservatives Now Say They Hate Spock After Obama Praises Character
Conservatives loved Spock – until they found out Obama did, too.
Read more 

Reigning Ruin

Democrats Show Who’s Really In Charge By Protecting Boehner From Tea Party Coup

Democrats are showing who’s really in charge of the House by vowing to protect John Boehner from the tea party coup that is building to overthrow him.
A number of right-wing Republicans, long-wary of Boehner’s commitment to GOP efforts attacking President Obama’s policy priorities, have openly considered a coup in an attempt to transfer the gavel into more conservative hands.
But Democrats from across an ideological spectrum say they’d rather see Boehner remain atop the House than replace him with a more conservative Speaker who would almost certainly be less willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise. Replacing him with a Tea Party Speaker, they say, would only bring the legislative process — already limping along — to a screeching halt.
“I think it would pose a real existential dilemma for us,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “I mean, on the one hand, if you have a chance to take out a Republican Speaker, why wouldn’t you do that? On the other hand, if the obvious alternative is a Tea Party Speaker, now you’ve got to worry not only about your own political situation but frankly about the institution.
“I think that would give very serious pause to the Democrats.”
Whatever benefit that Democrats may get from watching Boehner go down would quickly be erased by the reality of a more conservative Speaker of the House provoking endless confrontations and crisis with the Senate and President Obama. The government would be in an even bigger perpetual state of crisis than it is right now.
John Boehner needs House Democrats. The current dynamic in the House is very beneficial for Democrats. Each House Republican manufactured crisis plays out the same way. Tea partiers provoke a crisis. Boehner gives them what they want. The Senate eventually sides with Democrats and the president, and Boehner is forced to rely on Pelosi and the Democrats to prevent a political disaster.
In a body where the majority rules with an iron fist, House Democrats would be crazy to give up their leverage. John Boehner’s inability to govern has given Democrats an influential voice. On key votes, Democrats have the power to make or break Boehner. They are much better served by keeping the fractured Republican majority in place than they would be by a more unified Republican caucus under a new Speaker of the House.
Boehner, like Mitch McConnell in the Senate, is incapable of getting anything important done on his own. Boehner needs the Democrats, and he will owe them even more if the save his tanned hide from torch and pitchfork wielding tea party.

Benghazi Committee Democrats Bust Republicans On Lie About Hillary Clinton Emails

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings And House Democrats Discuss Accuse GOP Of Obstructing The Legislative Process
The Democratic members of the House’s Benghazi Select Committee have caught Republicans in a lie about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In a letter, the Democrats on the Benghazi committee wrote:
We urge you to withdraw the ill-considered subpoena—whose issuance to a cooperating witness served only to highlight the increasingly partisan nature of the Committee’s focus — and to immediately publish the Secretary’s emails in their entirety, as she has requested. Allowing these emails to be made public will help clear up any misperceptions and will also help return the Committee to its original purpose, investigating the tragic events in Benghazi, rather than allowing it to become a surrogate for the Republican National Committee.
Issuing this subpoena unilaterally with no deliberation by Committee Members, leaking information about the subpoena before informing Democratic Members, and providing inaccurate information at a press conference all contribute to a perception that this Committee is now targeting Secretary Clinton for political reasons rather than to clarify any remaining facts relating to the attacks in Benghazi.
The Democrats pointed out that Republicans already knew that Clinton used a private email account. The Republicans are inaccurately claiming that documents have been withheld, but former Sec. of State Clinton via the State Department has already turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the Benghazi committee.
During a press conference committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) claimed that Clinton used multiple personal email accounts, when the fact is that she used just one. Republicans are desperately trying to inflate this story so that it becomes an issue during the 2016 election. The Benghazi committee is a sham. A more accurate name for this political sideshow would be The Committee to Dig Up Dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The Benghazi Select Committee was already a waste of time. The claims that Republicans are investigating were debunked years ago. Democrats aren’t playing defense on this bogus story. They are knocking down Republican lies before they can get off of the ground. Republicans are already lying in order to inflate the story. Benghazi has been a bust for Republicans, and Hillary Clinton’s email account can’t revive their bogus conspiracy.


McConnell Urges Governors To Disobey Federal Law For the Kochs

Boehner boasted that Republicans primary duty was not to make laws, but eliminate them for their wealthy donors' benefit.
It is not unusual for pundits and commentators to refer to Congressional legislators as ‘lawmakers‘ due to the very nature of the Constitutional mandate to ‘make laws‘ for the general welfare of the people.  However, since Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Speaker John A. Boehner boasted that Republicans primary duty was not to make laws, but eliminate them for their wealthy donors’ benefit. Now, the sitting Senate Majority Leader has went a step farther and issued a call to governors to become ‘law breakers’ to benefit the fossil fuel industry that bought control of Congress for Republicans.
Ever since President Obama announced new EPA regulations reducing carbon emissions to combat the real and present danger of anthropogenic climate change, Republicans pledge to fight back and stop the EPA. Because any Republican legislation attempting to thwart the President’s climate change proposals will incur a painful presidential veto, Mitch McConnell is taking what is called an unprecedented step for a Senator and inciting state governors to defy the President in the Koch Congress’ stead.
Although not quite an open call to nullify a federal law, the Koch devotee is pushing governors to refuse to implement the Obama Administration’s climate change regulations. In the Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader, McConnell wrote under an op-ed with a headline that read, “States should reject Obama mandate for clean-power regulations.”
In the article, McConnell resorted to a typically Republican tactic of lying and wrote that, “The Obama administration’s so-called ‘clean power’ regulation seeks to shut down more of America’s power generation under the guise of protecting the climate. Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class. Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement. Without your support, it won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism. Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back. We’re devising strategies now to do just that.”
McConnell knows Congress cannot stop the legal actions of the President according to the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court, so he is urging state complicity in violating federal regulations to reduce emissions that are the greatest source of planet-warming pollution in the country. It is part of his promise to pay back the Koch brothers for making him Senate Majority Leader.
The new EPA rules should be finalized this summer and require, by federal law, for each state to submit a plan laying out how it intends to cut coal-fired plant pollution. If states refuse to comply, they will be liable to adhere to a  one-size-fits-all national plan that may not take into account the specific needs of individual states. The Obama Administration hopes the regulations will push polluters to take actions to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they pour into the air, and hopefully hasten transformation of the energy economy away from dirty fossil fuels and toward renewable green sources such as wind and solar.
It is in no conceivable way part of the Koch brothers’ vision for America and they will spare no expense to see it does not happen. With their state legislative arms the State Policy Network (SPN), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),  and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), they  have every intention of blocking the regulations at the state level by tying up implementation of the regulations in the judicial system. In fact, with ALEC, SPN, and AFP working in concert with so-called “Dr. Evil” of anti-EPA notoriety, the Kochs intend on using the states to shut down the EPA’s enforcement authority well beyond implementing and enforcing the President’s Clean Air Act regulations; despite the CAA’s requirement that he do so.
Democrats said McConnell’s call for states not to prepare plans is unprecedented. However, there is an African American President and this is a GOP owned and operated by the dirty Koch fossil fuel industry that opposes  anything Obama does; required by law or not. Under a Republican president’s  Clean Air Act, the executive branch is required to issue carbon pollution rules and despite McConnell’s claim it is political extremism, it is a federal requirement that the Supreme Court has upheld several times.
According to the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment Committee, Barbara Boxer, “It’s unprecedented that a leader in the Senate would call on states to disobey the law, which has been upheld many times by the Supreme Court.  I can’t recall a majority leader calling on states to disobey the law — and I’ve been here almost 24 years.” However, in those “almost 24 years” there was not an African American President or a majority leader and Congress owned by two billionaire fossil fuel magnates. Boxer should be well aware that the Koch brothers’ money has changed how America is governed and driven the Republican party to openly advocate breaking the law and blatantly campaigning against clean air as a matter of course. Although that was not always the case.
In 1988, following up on a Republican President’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, George H. W. Bush actually campaigned on clean air standards. In fact, it was during his presidency that there was a very substantive update to the Clean Air Act to protect the environment and unbelievably the American people’s health and well-being. While Bush was president the Senate passed  and he signed an expansive Clean Air Act (CAA) update with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 89-11;  including the ardent support from none other than today’s Koch acolyte Mitch McConnell. In voting for the CAA update, McConnell stated that, “I had to choose between cleaner air and the status quo. I chose cleaner air.”
It is likely that Kentucky residents, many of them spending a lifetime working in the coal mining industry, were grateful their Senator was advocating for their and their descendants’ health and well-being before he sold his allegiance to the Kochs. One cannot comprehend how McConnell would choose the status quo and more climate change damage and obviously dirty air, but it is McConnell and he did promise the Koch brothers he would ‘go after the federal government‘ and the EPA in particular. Apparently it is not enough for McConnell to expose Kentucky residents to the effects of climate change and hazardous air, he is actually calling for governors in all 50 states to disobey federal law and jeopardize their residents’ health.
It is bad enough that since Barack Obama has been President, several Republican-controlled states and congressional legislators have openly called for nullifying, disobeying, and even criminalizing enforcement of federal laws. But it is unprecedented for the Senate Majority Leader to issue in writing a call for all states to disobey federal law; particularly one the Supreme Court has upheld often, including as recently as June 2014 because it is required in an Act created and supported by Republican presidents and lawmakers. But things have changed since demi-god Reagan was president and particularly since Republican lawbreakers were wholly-owned and operated by dirty fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers.

President Obama Acknowledges Ferguson’s Racist Police Practices Not An “Isolated Incident”

In a Friday morning interview on SiriusXM’s “Urban View” channel, President Obama made it clear that Ferguson, Missouri’s racist police practices are not unique, and that other police departments around the country may behave similarly. The President said he did not think what happened in Ferguson was necessarily “typical” of American policing, but he added “it’s not an isolated incident,” either. On the Joe Madison Radio Show, Obama stated:
I think that there are circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have broken down, and individuals or entire departments may not have the training or the accountability to make sure that they’re protecting and serving all people and not just some… I don’t think that is typical of what happens across the country, but it’s not an isolated incident.
To African-Americans in many American cities, President Obama is merely stating the obvious. While the spotlight has been shined upon Ferguson’s abusive system of law enforcement, that pattern is being replicated, outside the glare of the media and the U.S. Justice Department, in many other municipalities.
The practice of heavy-handed law enforcement directed at African-Americans, combined with turning jails into the equivalent of modern-day debtors prisons isn’t unique to Ferguson. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that those tactics are endemic throughout St. Louis County. While Ferguson, along with the town of Jennings, were viewed as the worst offenders, abusive police practices and questionable enforcement objectives are widespread throughout the entire county, with African-Americans disproportionately targeted for arrest in most locations. Not only is Ferguson not unique nationally, it is not even alone in its county as a city that oppresses its African-American residents.
Obama’s comments will undoubtedly draw criticism from conservatives who will accuse him of race-baiting, for acknowledging that Ferguson’s racist practices are not an isolated local problem, but rather part of a larger national pattern of improper policing. While Ferguson may not be a “typical” American community, the President recognizes that it also is not as “atypical” as it should be. Racism continues to infect police departments and court rooms in cities and towns across America. The President has simply stated the obvious. How Americans respond to the obvious, will determine whether the nation is serious about police reform, or whether we will dismissively turn a blind eye to injustice, until the next conflagration.

Republican Leaders Send a Message to Minorities by Skipping Selma Event

by Jesse Berney
CongressSelmaWith the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act approaching, lawmakers and luminaries are gathering in Selma, Alabama for a three-day event to commemorate the historic protest in that city and the civil rights victories that followed.
Not a single member of the GOP congressional leadership will be attending.
That includes Speaker John Boehner. It includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And it includes Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who made news this year when it was revealed he spoke at a white supremacist event in 2000.
Just days after the Justice Department released a report detailing how far we still have left to go to fix the deep wounds racism still inflicts on our nation, with protests continuing on the streets of Ferguson, you would think Republicans would jump at the chance to show their solidarity with minorities in this country — or at least to make a show of it.
Instead they are choosing to send a powerful message to African-Americans: 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, conservatives still don’t care.


Conspiracy Nuts Increasingly Turning To Domestic Terrorism

Conspiracy Theorists Increasingly Turning To Domestic Terrorism (VIDEO)Conspiracy Theorist William Brandon Shanley has filed a one trillion dollar lawsuit against the mainstream media claiming Sandy Hook was faked.

He gives a child to a child rapist who rapes her ... and he's the victim?

Typical Republican ... It's everybody else's fault ...
Rep. Justin Harris (Screen capture)
Arkansas Republican dodges blame for giving adopted daughters to rapist: I’m a victim here

Chicago About to Dump Rush Limbaugh

by Jill Bond
Rush Limbaugh may be losing another outlet for his hate-filled far-right diatribes. According to a report from Daily Kos, Chicago’s Cumulus radio station WLS 890 is about to kick Rush to the curb.
While Culmulus is denying the allegation, Limbaugh himself posted a rather telling remark on Facebook on Wednesday.

“Now that I’ve outgrown the 25-54 demographic, I’m no longer confident I see the world as everybody else does,” he posted. Wait, what? You mean not everyone is filled with loathing when it comes to women, immigrants, minorities, the LGBT community, birth control, fair pay, the poor, etc, etc. “I’ve gotten old enough now that there are younger people, generationally younger, who have an entirely different view, an entirely different experience.”
RushDo I detect the smell of defeat in the air?
Limbaugh has been on WLS since 1989, but the network is bleeding millions lately. WLS’s revenue dropped from $13 million to less than $9.5 million in one year. People just aren’t that into Rushbo’s bullying misogynist schtick anymore, and campaigns like Stop Rush/Flush Rush have convinced sponsors to pull their ads during his shows’ time slots.
But Rush is right about one thing. His sexist propagandist talk-show doesn’t speak to the majority of the younger generation — which gives one hope that someday soon, Rush and his special brand of hatred will be off the airways entirely.

This is the Biggest Myth Republicans Keep Telling

by Shawn Drury
One of the central tenets of American life is that if you work hard and play by the rules you can get ahead. Millions upon millions of people come to America solely because of their belief in this premise. We’ve heard politicians of every stripe repeat it. The problem is that it’s no longer true.
There’s one thing worse than finding out a belief is false. And that’s believing something is true when it no longer is.
A recent study by a pair of psychology researchers from Cornell University, Shai Davidai and Thomas Gilovich, shows that most Americans still believe it’s possible to move up by working hard and playing by the rules, even though it’s harder than ever to do just that. The impossibility of getting ahead has been proven both anecdotally and through research. The chasm between those at the top and everyone else is at record levels.
American DreamIt probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that the Cornell researchers found that conservatives believe in the “work hard, get ahead” myth at a far greater rate than liberals. Here, as with climate change, immigration, and gay marriage, Republicans believe things that are simply not true.
The “work hard, get ahead” myth is very important to our economy. If people didn’t believe it, they wouldn’t work. Or they’d move somewhere where they believed they could work hard and get ahead.
How much longer can this myth survive? And if you find a conservative who acknowledges that income inequality is a grave problem, the solution is the same as it is to every other economic question: cut taxes on the wealthy. Yes, cut taxes on the wealthy and they will hire more poor people. Our problem now is not that you can’t get rich in America. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to stop being poor. And when you cut public services, which the poor rely on to improve their lot in life, you exacerbate the gulf between the rich and poor. Yet that’s what happens when Republicans are in charge.
A great source of frustration for liberals is when people vote against their own economic interests, yet it happens time and again. The Cornell research gives us a clue why. Poor people believe there is more mobility than there actually is. And those who believe in social mobility overestimate the amount of upward mobility versus downward.
I don’t claim to be an economist. Yet many who claim to be economic experts didn’t see The Great Recession coming even though it was screaming at us from several blocks away before it arrived on our doorstep. That’s how economists like to talk–in metaphor, metaphors like “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Unfortunately, right now in America there are millions of people who would just love to get their hands on some oars.

Unemployment Down In EVERY State For The First Time In 30 Years

Damn You, Obama!
While the Republican party holds fast to its propaganda that President Obama has destroyed America, ruined the economy and taken away all of your rights, pesky facts keep surfacing to thwart them.
The latest is a report issued Wednesday by the Department of Labor, showing unemployment down in every state and the District of Columbia for the first time since 1984.
Thanks, Obama.
1984 was the end of Reagan’s first term, and as the country began its descent into the bowels of trickle-down economics, focus shifted from the American working class and concern for their prosperity to padding the bank accounts of the so-called job creators.
The ripple effect of deficits as the result of tax-cuts and catering to the wealthy has sent the country into an out of control spiral of income inequality and class warfare many feel we never recover from.
The unemployment rate dropping is very good news.  It shows a spike in working class involvement in the job market, kicking the economy up a notch toward real recovery.
leading the pack in unemployment decline was Illinois, down two full percentage points, followed by North Carolina, Colorado and Ohio at 1.8% drops each.
A quick scan of a few search engines shows media outlets Nationwide reporting on the BLS report, as well as dozens of positive outlook posts by liberal bloggers.
Absent from the conversation are conservative propaganda rags and right-wing bloggers.
Apparently its more important for them to report on the First Lady’s diplomatic trip to Japan, calling it a lush vacation, than it is to inform their readers of some truly good news.
Also absent from comment on the report is Fox News, whose screenwriters are most likely coming up with a reason why great news about the economy is bad for America since a black man occupies the White House.

Fox News Ignores Latest Jobs Report Showing Lowest Unemployment Rate In Seven Years

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released February’s jobs numbers on Friday showing that the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.5%, the lowest rate the country has seen since May 2008, months before the financial crisis that rocked the American economy and led to huge job losses. Overall, the economy added 295,000 new jobs in the month, far more than expectations from experts who estimated that the bitter cold weather in the Northeast would cause a slowdown in job creation.
February’s report marks the 12th straight month that we’ve seen 200,000 or more jobs added, the first time that has occurred since 1984. This is also the 53rd consecutive month of positive job growth and 58th straight month of private sector growth. We haven’t seen sustained total job growth like this since 1939 and the private sector has never seen growth go on this long. Since the unemployment rate hit a high of 10.0% in October 2009, less than eight months into President Obama’s tenure in the White House, it has nearly been cut in half down to its current level of 5.5%. Under any normal analysis, that would be considered a rousing success.
Of course, not everyone is ecstatic over the robust job growth and plummeting unemployment rate. Fox News, whose entire business model these days is based on Obama being an abject failure, cannot possibly let their bubble-dwelling audience know about good news that occurs under the President’s watch. On Friday morning, shortly after the BLS released the report, you would have no idea that this was a major news story if you were on Fox News’ website. While CNN and MSNBC both listed it as a top story on their sites and talked about at length on their morning shows, Fox News pushed the story to a small sidebar on its main page and barely mentioned anything about the report in the morning.
Below are screengrabs from the three websites, all taken at 9:15 ET Friday morning. First, Fox News:
fox news screengrab 0306edited
Next, MSNBC. The network listed it as their second top story Friday morning.
msnbc screengrab 0306edited
Meanwhile, CNN listed the jobs report as its top story.
cnn screengrab 0306edited
Fox News will likely get around to talking about the economy and the plummeting unemployment rate and sustained job growth. However, they need to get their talking points and overriding narrative in order first. Also, they want to see the response from Republican leaders in Washington, conservative websites/blogs and right-wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh. After aggregating all of those takes, they’ll let their big dogs in primetime give the official Fox News spin about how Obama’s economy is awful, he is killing the country and Obamacare is still the biggest job-killer in the nation’s history.
Or, they’ll just ignore it and pretend that nothing positive is happening in this country. Either or works fine for their audience.


This Is The Paycheck For A McDonald’s Worker, And It’s Going To Make You Mad

This Is The Paycheck For A McDonald’s Worker, And It’s Going To Make You Mad (IMAGE)
Imagine slaving away for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks of the year – for this.

NYC Papa John’s Franchisee Required To Pay Back Millions For Wage Theft Violations

NYC Papa John’s Franchisee Required To Pay Back Millions For Wage Theft ViolationsBetter ingredients, better pizza — slave wages.