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Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Obama's budget would shrink deficits by $1.2 trillion

Obama's budget would shrink deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years: CBO

The Truth Be Told


Maine GOPer: ISIL is Obama’s ‘family reunion’

Republican Maine state Sen. Michael Willette (WCSH)
Methinks he doth protest too much.

Lindsey Graham Declares He Would Sic Military On Congress As President

His Imperial Majesty President Lindsay Graham!
If Congress does not pass the legislation he asks for, Senator Lindsey Graham declares that as President he would send the military in to force them.

Congressional Republicans Are Still Angry They Are Not The President

The latest outrage, the open letter signed by 47 Republican senators, is the greatest sign to date that the spoiled little children are throwing a fit …
GOP Hates America 2
It is beyond reason to assume that Republicans have any respect or fealty to the nation’s founding document any longer regardless of their protestations to the contrary. Since January 2009, they have refused to accept that, according to the Constitution, Barack Obama is the President of the United  States, or that he is the head of the Executive Branch of government. It is bad enough they cannot fulfill their own Constitutional duties as legislators, but for the past six years they have attempted to take on the duties of the Executive branch because they hate and cannot accept that Barack Obama is the President and leader of the free world. Subsequently, they have completely destroyed the concept of a working government and made a mockery the entire world now sees as a dysfunctional circus. The latest outrage, the open letter signed by 47 Republican senators, is the greatest sign to date that the spoiled little children are throwing a fit and are furious they are not allowed to be president and control foreign policy.
There is nothing in the United States Constitution that gives Congress oversight or authority of the nation’s foreign policy, and the Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear the President is the sole power and representative of America on the world stage. According to the United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp (1936), in speaking for the majority Justice Sutherland wrote: “The President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.” Sutherland also noted that, “The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign nations. He manages our concerns with foreign nations, and must necessarily determine when, how, and upon what subjects negotiation may be urged with the greatest prospect of success. For his conduct, he is responsible to the Constitution.”
This has been the case since America’s founding, and yet as has been noted recently, for the first time in history a group of Republican senators still angry they are not the President apparently believe they have authority over negotiations with foreign nations. It is true the Senate can advise and give consent for treaties, but this Iran and P5+1 negotiation is in no conceivable way a treaty. It is also not an agreement between America and Iran, President Obama and Ayatollah Khomeini, or any variant thereof. Republicans cannot accept this fact. President Obama, as represented by Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power represent America’s one voice among six nations negotiating an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As the Iranian Foreign Minister reminded the GOP 47, “the current negotiation with P5+1 [Britain, China, France, Germany Russia and the United States] will result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  concluded with five other countries including all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” Still, Republicans believe it is their dog-given duty, and within their purview, to either stop negotiations or negate an international agreement because they believe they are the president and have authority over American foreign policy; something even war criminal Dick Cheney regards as outrageous.
In 1986, Dick Cheney was incensed that some legislators in a congressional committee investigating the illegal and contentious Iran-Contra scandal dared to interfere with then-president Reagan’s policy and negotiations with Iran. In fact, Republicans claimed that Congress, not Reagan, had “done something wrong” because according to Cheney, the president had “constitutional authority to ignore the congressional ban on giving aid to Nicaraguan Contras;” regardless that it was patently illegal. In fact, Cheney condemned the House investigative committee and said they had better understand “the proper roles of Congress and the President in foreign policy. Throughout the nation’s history, Congress has accepted substantial exercises of Presidential power in the conduct of diplomacy. What President Reagan did was constitutionally protected exercises of inherent Presidential powers. The power of the purse is not and was never intended to be a license for Congress to usurp Presidential powers and functions. You have to preserve the prerogative of the President not to notify Congress at all.”
Republicans cannot accept what Cheney rightly called “the proper roles of Congress and the President” as they apply to foreign policy whatsoever. In fact, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-TN) did not sign the ‘open letter‘ to Iran because he “did not think that the letter was going to produce an outcome that we’re all seeking, and that is Congress playing that appropriate role” in determining foreign policy with Iran. There is no appropriate role for Congress on foreign policy with Iran and Corker knows it. Foreign policy is the purview of the Executive branch under President Obama; not the Legislative branch under Republicans who are deluded in thinking that they and Netanyahu are the president and control foreign policy.
It has been over six years since Americans elected Barack Obama as their President, and congressional Republicans have acted like they won the White House ever since. There is nothing this President has done that Republicans have failed to cite as overreach, unconstitutional, and illegal since 2009. Every executive order Obama has issued, regardless his predecessor issued the same ones, has been attacked mercilessly as inherently unconstitutional and illegal; likely because of the President’s race. The GOP’s failed ploy to supersede the Executive branch’s over issuing a pipeline permit to a foreign corporation was bad enough, but this latest attempt to sabotage the President and dictate foreign policy as Netanyahu’s surrogates is beyond the pale.
Legal scholars and historical precedent inform that the idea of the GOP47 violating the Logan Act is a non-starter. As an aside, the Logan Act has only been used once in 1803, and the case was summarily dismissed. In fact, in legal circles something known as “desuetude” is a legal doctrine that means statutes may lapse if they are never enforced; the Logan Act certainly falls into that category. However, this latest Republican stunt is beyond a violation of an archaic law; it is a clear sign that in practice, Republicans do not recognize the United States Constitution or presidential authority they believe belongs to them.
Republicans in Congress have never accepted the results of two legal general elections and in fact began acting as if they won control of the White House in January 2009. They have displayed the actions of delusional sycophants and deliberately retarded progress in this country as retribution on the people for not giving them, and recently a foreigner, control of the Executive Branch. It is true the desperately want a major war with Iran, but controlling the Executive is what their latest attempt to sabotage President Obama’s constitutional foreign policy authority is all about.

GOP’s Bad Week Gets Worse As Rudy Giuliani Tells President Obama To Be More Like Bill Cosby

Rudy Giuliani put to rest any doubts about his racism by telling President Obama to be more like Bill Cosby while blaming the president for the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson.
The New York Daily News detailed Giuliani’s blaming the president for the Ferguson shooting while comparing Obama to Bill Cosby during a radio interview on AM970:
“It all starts at the top. It’s the tone that’s set by the President,” Giuliani said.
obama-giulianiHe added he just returned from a multi-city trip overseas and the United States is constantly derided there as a “racist state.”
“It is the obligation of the President to explain … that our police are the best in the world,” said Giuliani.
Obama is also not addressing the “enormous amount of crime” that’s being committed by African-Americans due to “historical” reasons, Giuliani said.
“I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards, but (he should be saying) the kinds of stuff Bill Cosby used to say,” said Giuliani.
Giuliani expanded on his views that Obama is to blame for the Ferguson police shooting during an appearance on Fox News:
On Fox News, Giuliani repeated his claim that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder created the “atmosphere” that led to the Ferguson police officers being shot.
African-American crime rates have been falling during the Obama presidency, and the myth that the president hates the police is not backed up by any facts. During the president’s speech in Selma last weekend he said, “With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on – the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for – the protection of the law. Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.”
The night that the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson was announced, the president said, “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.”
Today (3-12-15), the President tweeted from the White House account, “Violence against police is unacceptable”:
Violence against police is unacceptable. Our prayers are with the officers in MO. Path to justice is one all of us must travel together. –bo
In fact, President Obama routinely praises police officers and first responders during his speeches. The reality of President Obama’s words does not match up with the race-based tales that Rudy Giuliani has been spinning. When viewed within the context of his comments about the president not loving America, it is clear that Giuliani is upping the racist ante with his latest comments.
According to Giuliani, President Obama needs to be more like a suspected serial rapist celebrity. It has been a bad week for Republicans. Their Iran letter revealed the depths of their Obama hate, and Rudy Giuliani keeps putting exclamation points on the racism behind the Republican contempt for this president.

150,000 sign treason petition on US Republican letter to Iran

More than 155,000 people by Wednesday had signed a petition to the White House urging charges be filed against 47 Republican senators who they say committed "treasonous" offenses by writing Iran's leaders about ongoing nuclear negotiations. Lawmakers caused a political furor with their controversial letter Monday that warned an international nuclear deal with Iran could be scrapped by the next US president, particularly if Congress does not give its seal of approval. The White House has said it responds to such petitions when they reach the 100,000-signature threshold, providing President Barack Obama's administration with another opportunity to slam a letter that it considers inflammatory. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pilloried the letter, as did several Democratic congressional leaders.
Update: the number that have signed is now well over 250,000 people

John McCain Blames A Snowstorm For His Treasonous Decision To Sign Iran Letter

John McCain (R-AZ) offered up the lamest Republican excuse possible for the GOP’s treasonous letter to Iran. McCain admitted that he didn’t read the letter carefully because he was in a hurry to leave Washington before a snowstorm arrived.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Republicans — many of whom blessed the missive during a brisk signing session at a Senate lunch a week ago, as senators prepared to flee a Washington snowstorm — should have given it closer consideration.
“It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,” McCain said. “I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”
John McCain wants the American people to believe that the 47 senators who signed this letter were more worried about getting out of D.C. ahead of a snowstorm than doing their jobs.
The Arizona Republic was blunt in condemning McCain, “A letter to Iran, signed in part by Arizona's John McCain, irresponsibly undermines our commander in chief.”
If McCain is more worried about the weather than doing his job, he shouldn’t be a United States Senator. If what McCain said is true, the Republicans who signed the letter didn’t read it carefully, those 47 Republicans don’t deserve to be United States Senators.
There is no excuse that McCain could offer that would excuse an act of sabotage. Instead of blaming the weather, it would have been refreshing to hear Sen. “Straight Talk” admit that he screwed up and apologize. If there is one thing that the American people know about Republicans, it is that they never apologize. Since Republicans have decided to stand behind their act of sabotage, voters should put their “Country First” when they cast their ballots in 2016.

“Tehran Tom” Cotton’s Iran Blunder Has Made Him the New Hanoi Jane

As the saying goes, stupidity is its own reward, and Republican Tom Cotton has certainly proven the truth of that anonymous proverb…
tom cotton morning joe
On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton, freshman Republican senator from Arkansas, issued his by now infamous letter to Iran, signed by 47 Republican senators. We cannot know what sort of reaction these people expected, but we can predict with some certainty that it was issued with a sense of triumph and jubilation. Instead, as Politico put it yesterday, the blowback startled them.
Republicans were probably beginning to worry by Tuesday that Cotton’s Iran letter was backfiring. That was the day the New York Daily News called them traitors. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had already schooled (i.e. mocked) them not only on international law on Monday, but United States constitutional law, providing the public humiliation before the entire world they so much deserved.
This morning, the verdict seems to be in on Tom Cotton’s letter, with 22 newspaper editorials having joined all the other voices of condemnation raised against the blatant attempt to undermine the president.
While clueless, hate-consumed Republican presidential hopefuls compound their poor judgment by scrambling to support the seditious Iran letter, the Senate historian can’t find anything in history that matches it. I don’t even think Caesar’s enemies wrote Cleopatra letters warning her his word was meaningless.
It is not an understatement to suggest that the outrage over the Senate Republican letter is national. In this time of great partisan divide, Republicans managed to unify the country with an act that was as blatantly unpatriotic as it was blindingly stupid.
Yet Iran specialist Suzanne Maloney took a very different view at Brookings on Tuesday writing that,
Despite the smug Twitter takedowns, Cotton is no fool; he is an Iraq war veteran with two Harvard degrees and has been called “the future of the GOP” and “Ted Cruz with a war record, Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree, Chris Christie with a Southern accent — a force to be reckoned with.” He has cemented his rising reputation around warning against the threat from Iran; he is apparently a true believer in the latest cockamamie conspiracy theory to sweep the right wing, now that Benghazi and birth certificates are passé — the illusion that there is “an unspoken entente between the Obama administration and Iran: the U.S. won’t impose new sanctions on Iran and will allow it to develop threshold nuclear capabilities, while Iran won’t assemble a bomb till 2017.”
I’m not certain we’ve seen anything to suggest Cotton is no fool. Rather to the contrary, and at this point, the burden of proof is on Cotton and his defenders. Here is how Maloney parses his actions:
The feedback loop between Cotton’s letter and Khamenei’s innate mistrust is brilliantly calculated. As Cotton said earlier this year, “The end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence.” In December, he promised that Congress would “put an end to these negotiations,” adding that “I think the adults in Congress need to step in early in the new year. And those are people in both parties.”
So Cotton’s letter writing is a direct result of his ideological opposition to a peace accord with Iran, and, one would have to assume, a preference for war. But that he said it and then did it, doesn’t mean it was a good idea to begin with. Again, there is nothing here to suggest Cotton is not as big a fool as we by now all imagine him to be, and indeed, as his actions seem to prove.
Maloney writes that because it will be more difficult once sanctions have been lifted to prevent them from becoming permanent, Republicans were driven by a sense of urgency to send this “seemingly reckless letter” and that “they appreciate that it would be far easier, and far more advantageous in terms of their own public positioning, for Congress to sabotage negotiations than it would be to upend a done deal.”
Her conclusion is that,
Ultimately, the loss of the good opinion of a few Democrats is a small price to pay if the letter hits its real target. The most reliable opponent of a nuclear deal resides in Tehran, and it is entirely possible that the Republican letter has reinforced his aversion to compromise. Washington’s pundits may jeer, but I worry that Senator Cotton & co. may yet have the last laugh.
The loss of the good opinion of a “few Democrats” is the least of the things these Republicans have lost, as we have seen. Indeed, things became so bad for “Tehran Tom” that on Wednesday, the Christian Science Monitor was asking, “Is he the next ‘Hanoi Jane’?”
Maloney no doubt wrote this analysis on Monday, before pretty much everybody who isn’t a Republican reacted with outrage. It certainly does not seem now that their strategy succeeded in derailing the peace process. Instead, this letter is proven to have been as reckless as it seems, like Jane Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam in 1972, an attempt that should never have been made.
What ought to have happened is that Cotton and his colleagues got together and said, “About the only thing left is publishing an open letter to Iran to sabotage this thing, but that would be just stupid.” This utterance would then be followed by sad shakes of the head, and the rest of us would never know about it until some memoir was published a half century from now. And then, because it was such a stupid idea, nobody would believe it.
The CSM is correct in pointing out that “politicians aren’t known for deciding and declaring they were wrong or even simply imprudent about anything,” and this is doubly true of Republicans.
So don’t expect any apologies: even if John McCain, one of the signatories, admitted Tuesday night that the letter might not have been the most “effective” response to the peace negotiations, Tehran Tom was saying Wednesday that he has “no regrets,” and that his treasonous letter actually “protects” America.
We cannot expect Cotton to one day share Fonda’s moment of clarity, but no apology is going to save the Republicans from themselves, or from President Obama. As the saying goes, stupidity is its own reward, and Republican Senator Tom Cotton has certainly proven the truth of that anonymous proverb.
When combined with the Netanyahu fiasco, which has led to Bibi’s popularity crashing both here and in Israel, we have plentiful evidence that we should be thankful it is not Republicans controlling our foreign policy, but the very sober, steady hand of President Barack Obama.

Lawyers Try To Rescue Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit By Comparing Justice Kennedy’s Arguments To Slavery

Pro tip: if you want to win a Supreme Court case, it’s probably not a good idea to compare a swing justice who could single-handedly decide the case’s outcome to Confederate slaveholders.
slaveryThe comparison between Justice Anthony Kennedy and defenders of a right to hold other human beings in bondage arose after the Affordable Care Act had a much better day in the Supreme Court than its opponents might have hoped for. Justice Kennedy, one of two potential swing votes who could rescue the law from this latest attempt to hobble one of its core provisions through litigation, warned that there is a “serious constitutional problem” with the plaintiffs’ argument — and that this problem may drive Kennedy to uphold the law. As a result, opponents of the law have flooded opinion pages and conservative outlets with articles criticizing the concerns Kennedy raised during oral arguments in the anti-Obamacare case known as King v. Burwell.
The latest in this genre is an article co-authored by two attorneys, one of whom played a major role in the last lawsuit attempting to bring down the Affordable Care Act, comparing Justice Kennedy’s doubts regarding the plaintiffs’ arguments in King to “the heart of the Confederate states’ defense of slavery.” David Rivkin, a former Reagan and Bush I administration official who litigated the first challenge to the Affordable Care Act at the trial level, and Elizabeth Foley, a law professor who authored a book on tea party constitutionalism, draw this connection between Justice Kennedy and defenders of one man’s right to own another in an article published in Politico Magazine. The article also blurs the line between two distinct legal doctrines and misreads the nature of Kennedy’s concerns.
The central premise of King is that the Affordable Care Act denies tax credits that enable millions of people to afford health insurance to people who live in states where the federal government operates the state’s Obamacare health exchange. Under the law, states have “flexibility” to decide whether to set up their own exchange or have the federal government do so for them.
Should the Court agree with the King plaintiffs that tax credits must be cut off in nearly three dozen states, millions of people will lose their health insurance. According to one estimate, nearly 10,000 people will die every year who otherwise would have lived. Premiums will double, triple, quadruple or worse for millions of Americans, causing many healthy individuals to drop coverage that they can no longer afford. And, as healthy consumers drop coverage, insurers to will the revenues they need to continue paying claims to their sick customers. In many states, the result could be a “death spiral” that eventually collapses the state’s individual insurance market.
This fear of a death spiral formed the basis of Kennedy’s objections to the King plaintiffs’ arguments. Citing a doctrine that prohibits federal laws from coercing states into taking a particular action, Kennedy suggested that the Court should avoid a reading of the Affordable Care Act that would force states to choose between setting up a state-run exchange or having their insurance markets collapse.
During the oral argument, several other justices pointed to a different limit on congressional power. When Congress conditions the payment of federal funds upon a state acting in a particular way, funds cannot be denied to states that do not comply with this condition “if a State is unaware of the conditions or is unable to ascertain what is expected of it.” Some members of the Court expressed concerns that this limit, which is often referred to as the “clear statement rule,” also casts constitutional doubts on the plaintiffs’ reading of Obamacare.
In their Politico piece, Rivkin and Foley appear unaware that Kennedy raised coercion concerns and not clear statement concerns during the King oral argument, as their piece is primarily an argument for why Kennedy and his colleagues should not allow the clear statement rule to stand in the way of cutting off tax credits. The piece refers to a clear statement argument raised by several law professors in an amicus brief, and claim, incorrectly, that this clear statement argument “gained some traction” with Justice Kennedy. They bring up slavery as part of an argument that states rights concerns, including the concern that was actually raised by Kennedy, should not apply to the Affordable Care Act.
The crux of their argument on this point is that cutting off tax credits “hurts some citizens within those states” with federally-run exchanges, but it does not actually deny funds to the state itself. “[H]urting individuals within a state cannot be equated, under any existing clear statement or other federalism case law,” according to Rivkin and Foley, “with hurting states as sovereign entities.” This distinction between federal laws offering a benefit to states and federal laws offering a benefit to a state’s citizens then forms the basis for a rhetorical flourish about slavery:
Incidentally, the last time the law professors’ argument was seriously advanced was during the pre-Civil War era, when Confederate states asserted that various federal government actions, such as those devaluing a slave-owner’s property interest in his slaves, harmed state sovereignty by harming the state’s citizens. Indeed, the Nullification Crisis of 1832, the brainchild of Sen. John Calhoun of South Carolina, was based on the argument that states didn’t have to obey a federal tariff law because it harmed Southern farmers. This political philosophy—that states are harmed when their citizens are harmed in some way by the federal government—was the heart of the Confederate states’ defense of slavery. We fought a Civil War to put this notion to rest.
Setting aside the two lawyers’ atypical understanding of why the United States fought a Civil War, their suggestion that laws that hurt a state’s citizens are not subject to either the clear statement rule or the rule against coercion is mistaken. In explaining why there are limits on how Congress can structure conditional grant programs, the Supreme Court explained in Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman that such legislation “is much in the nature of a contract.” Thus, for example, just as ordinary contract law provides that ambiguous language in a contract is construed against the contract’s drafter, an unclear federal law that may impose a condition on states will be construed in the most favorable way for the states — i.e. it will be read not to impose that condition.
Ordinary contract law principles, such as the rule that contracts are construed against their drafter or another rule prohibiting “unconscionable” contracts, also do not evaporate because a contract benefits someone who is not a party to the contract. If Mike agrees to pay Darius to paint his home, these principles apply. Similarly, if Mike agrees to pay Darius’s sister if Darius paints Mike’s home, these principles also apply, even though Darius’s sister is not a party to the contract. It follows that, if Congress were to offer to provide tax credits to a state’s citizens if a state takes a particular action, the ordinary constitutional rules governing clear statements and coercion also apply.
Ironically, if Justice Kennedy ultimately votes to uphold the Affordable Care Act due to his concerns about coercion, the law’s supporters may be able to thank Mr. Rivkin for this outcome. Prior to 2012, no Supreme Court decision had ever held that a federal law violated the prohibition on coercion. That changed after the Court decided NFIB v. Sebelius, the first Supreme Court case targeting Obamacare. That case relied on the rule against coercion to give states greater leeway to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
The lawyer who original filed NFIB and who litigated it at the trial level was David Rivkin.

Rubio-Lee tax plan means more debt and greater income inequality

For Republicans, there are only two certainties in life: debt and tax cuts. During his eight-year tenure, President Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt accumulated over the first two centuries of the republic. (The hemorrhaging from his 1981 tax cut would have been worse, but for 11 subsequent tax hikes the Gipper signed to help cauterize the revenue drain.) His supply-side tax-cutting successor, George W. Bush, nearly doubled the red ink. And with their massive tax-cut windfalls for the wealthy and cowardly silence about which tax breaks they'd end, Mitt Romney (20 percent across the board rate decrease) and Paul Ryan (two brackets, lower corporate tax rates) each would have left Uncle Sam at least $5 trillion poorer within 10 years.Now, Republican Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have unveiled a new version of what they call the "Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan."  Unfortunately, this blueprint supposedly designed to provide help to the middle class is fairer to some families than others. And with its golden showers for the richest Americans, the Rubio-Lee proposal can only mean more debt and greater income inequality for everyone else.
Of course, you'd never know that judging by the reactions from the best and brightest among the Young Guns of the conservative movement. Ramesh Ponnuru called it "a tax plan Republicans should learn to love." Yuval Levin agreed, gushing in the National Review, "I think Ramesh is right to describe the result as 'the most pro-growth tax reform since Calvin Coolidge's presidency,' and Ryan Ellis of Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is right to say that this is 'what pro-growth looks like in the 21st century.'" Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis proclaimed, "Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have cooked up the first great tax cut plan of the 21st century."
The near-orgasmic response of the Reformicons should come as no surprise. After all, many of the ideas in the Rubio-Lee framework had their genesis in their 2014 manual, Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class. But as Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center lamented, there's not a whole lot for the middle class in it:
[W]hile it is not accompanied by a budget score, the elements that it specifies would add trillions of dollars to the nation's debt over the next decade. It would also likely target the bulk of these new tax cuts to high-income households.

What's behind the Republican attack on children's health?

Republicans being Republicans.
Republicans have seized upon another potential crisis point-funding for Children's Health Insurance Program-and are exploring in what ways they can slash and burn it. As usual. But one observer wants to know why a traditionally bipartisan and popular program is suddenly in GOP cross-hairs
With Republican presidential candidates trumpeting their concern about the struggles of working and middle-class families, why would congressional leadership undermine the wildly popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?
CHIP is that rare social program where success is celebrated by both Republicans and Democrats. Governors across the political spectrum support the program, which gives states flexibility in design while the federal Treasury pays an average of 88 percent of costs. By covering 5.8 million children, whose parents don't get children's health coverage at work but earn too much for Medicaid, CHIP has dramatically cut the proportion of uninsured children, providing them with good coverage and their parents with affordable premiums and low out-of-pocket costs. […]
In late February, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) published a discussion draft that would endanger the health of at least 1 million children enrolled in CHIP while raising costs to states.
Why? Because-news flash-they don't really care about children. And they really don't care about the children of working and middle-class families-little 47 percenters in the making.

How Harper's "anti-terror" bill ends privacy in Canada

Michael Geist writes, "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fast-tracking a bill that eviscerates privacy protections within the public sector that represents the most significant reduction in public sector privacy protection in Canadian history -- he' blocking the Privacy Commissioner of Canada from appearing as a witness at the committee studying the bill."
Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach offer a detailed examination of the privacy implications of the massive expansion of government sharing of information. In recent weeks, all privacy commissioners from across the country have spoken out. For example, Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien, appointed by the government less than a year ago and described as an expert by Prime Minister Harper, rightly slams the bill:
the scale of information sharing being proposed is unprecedented, the scope of the new powers conferred by the Act is excessive, particularly as these powers affect ordinary Canadians, and the safeguards protecting against unreasonable loss of privacy are seriously deficient. While the potential to know virtually everything about everyone may well identify some new threats, the loss of privacy is clearly excessive. All Canadians would be caught in this web.
The end result?
As a result of SCISA, 17 government institutions involved in national security would have virtually limitless powers to monitor and, with the assistance of Big Data analytics, to profile ordinary Canadians, with a view to identifying security threats among them. In a country governed by the rule of law, it should not be left for national security agencies to determine the limits of their powers. Generally, the law should prescribe clear and reasonable standards for the sharing, collection, use and retention of personal information, and compliance with these standards should be subject to independent and effective review mechanisms, including the courts.

Hollinsworth Hound

An Explanation on Gerrymandering Everyone Can Understand

It’s no secret we’re big fans of North Carolina state Senator Jeff Jackson. He’s a hardworking guy who’s committed to making our political system as fair and accessible …

Hog-Castrating Joni Ernst Could Face Court Martial For Treasonous Letter To Iran

via Western Journalism The treasonous letter mailed to the leaders of Iran by 47 Republican Senators may create some very real issues for newly-elected Iowa Senator Joni Ernst. ...

In A Shocking Development: Rush Limbaugh Says Yet Another Horrible Thing

RushFrom the "Public Enemies" Department:
There’s exactly one thing worth saying about the racist frat boys who chanted racist things on their racist bus: they’re racist. But Rush Limbaugh has a different take:…

Here’s How Many Veterans Will Be Hurt by Republican Food Stamp Cuts

veteran familyTime is running out for an estimated 60,000 veterans who rely on food stamps, warns the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, according to The Huffington Post. … 

Anti-Science Crowd Will Not Be Happy With Google

Have you ever wondered how Google decides which results to give you when search for something? They’re based on an algorithm that rewards a site for the amount…