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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Daily Drift

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What have YOU done lately ...

Countering GOP Obstruction Obama Initiative Creates 500,000 High-Paying Jobs

The President launched an initiative last week to train 500,000 Americans for high-paying jobs in high-technology services. …

President Obama Amazingly Obliterates The Republican Budget In Less Than 60 Seconds

It took President Obama less than a minute to destroy the Republican budget proposal by pointing out the many failures of the conservative financial fantasy blueprint.
The president said:
I should mention that I was hoping for a little luck of the Irish as the Republicans put forward their budget today. Unfortunately, what we’re seeing right now is a failure to invest in education, infrastructure, research and national defense. All the things that we need to grow, need to create jobs, to stay at the forefront of innovation and to keep our country safe. “It’s not a budget that reflects the future. It’s not a budget that reflects growth. It’s not a budget that is going to help ensure that middle-class families are able to maintain security and stability and that people who are trying to get into the middle class are going to have the rungs on the ladder to get into the middle class.
The president was so easily able to rip apart the Republican budget proposal, because it is the same tired ideas that they have been pushing for years. The Republican budget would lower taxes for people at the top while gutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The budget is also based on the myth that Republicans will be able to repeal Obamacare. There is not a single forward thinking idea in the Republican budget.
The Republican budget was more of the same old stuff that is never going to see the light of day. It is an ideological wish list. A fantasy that is not based on the reality of what the country needs in order to move forward. The Republican budget is a broken record that is loaded with fatal scratches.
It is not surprising that President Obama was able to take it apart so quickly. This budget is a failure. It is a failure in every way that the president described and dozens more. It is a betrayal of our veterans. It is a betrayal of the poor. This budget crushes the American dream and destroys any hope of upward mobility.
The Republican budget is a Koch dream that President Obama quickly shocked back to reality.

Republican Doppelgangers

The White House Drops A Fact Bomb On The House Republican Budget

A new White House fact sheet has blown the House Republican budget to bits ...
Obama tax plan
Just The Facts: The White House Fact Sheet On The House Republican Budget:

With more than 12 million private-sector jobs created over the last 60 months, it is clear that the President’s middle class economic agenda is working. But instead of taking the steps we need to strengthen the standing of working families, the House Republican budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016 would return our economy to the same top-down economics that has failed us before. The Republican budget cuts taxes for millionaires and billionaires, while slashing investments in the middle class that we need to grow the economy, like education, job training, and manufacturing. The Republican proposal stands in stark contrast to the President’s FY 2016 Budget, which would bring middle class economics into the 21st Century.
The President’s Budget builds off the progress we’ve made and shows what we can do if we invest in America’s future and commit to an economy that rewards hard work, generates rising incomes, and allows everyone to share in the prosperity of a growing America. It lays out a strategy to strengthen our middle class and help America’s hard-working families get ahead in a time of relentless economic and technological change. And it makes the critical investments needed to accelerate and sustain economic growth in the long run, including in research, education, training, and infrastructure.
House Republicans have chosen different priorities. Yet again, they are seeking to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, while cutting taxes for the wealthy and well-connected. House Republicans still won’t say where close to $1 trillion of their spending cuts come from. But they are clear that their budget would continue the harmful cuts known as sequestration in 2016, threatening economic growth, cutting programs middle-class families count on, and attempting to fund national security through irresponsible budget gimmicks. Their budget slashes domestic investments that support middle-class even more significantly after 2016, along with programs that serve the most vulnerable Americans. It would end Medicare as we know it, transforming it from a guarantee seniors can count on into a voucher program. And, despite the more than 16 million Americans who have health insurance today as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it yet again proposes to repeal the law’s coverage expansions.
The choice could not be more clear and the consequences more stark. Thanks to President Obama and the resilience of the American people, the economy is growing again. The Republican budget would put that growth at risk and limit opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to join it.
In a budget that claims to be fiscally responsible, House Republicans start by promising large tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Among the few specific tax proposals in the House Republican budget is a promise to spend hundreds of billions on high-income and business tax cuts, with up to trillions more in unspecified high-income and corporate rate reductions. The proposals they specify would cut the tax bill of the average millionaire by more than $50,000, before even adding the proposed cuts to tax rates. Meanwhile, the House Republican budget does nothing to prevent a tax increase on 26 million working families and students. And in the past, they have made clear they would let this tax increase happen – raising taxes by an average of $900 apiece for 16 million working families and by $1,100 for 12 million families and students paying for college.
Because House Republicans refuse to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share or to raise a single dollar of revenue, their budget relies on the same, failed top-down economics as in previous years. Specifically, it would:
• Cut investments in the middle class by maintaining sequestration funding levels. Under the House Republican budget, both non-defense and base defense discretionary funding in 2016 would be at the lowest real levels in a decade. Investments in the middle class would be heavily impacted: real preK-12 per pupil education funding would fall to its lowest levels since 2000, and real R&D funding would fall to its lowest level since 2002, except when large sequestration cuts also took effect in 2013. Compared to the President’s Budget, the Republican budget would result in: [1]
◦ 35,000 fewer children on Head Start.
◦ $1.2 billion less in Title I education funding, enough to fund 4,500 schools, 17,000 teachers and aides, and 1.9 million students.
◦ $347 million less in IDEA funding, an amount that could support up to 6,000 special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and other related staff.
◦ More than 2 million fewer workers receiving job training and employment services.
◦ Elimination of the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, which serve 30,000 small manufacturers that contribute to the creation of middle-class jobs and economic growth.
◦ 1,300 fewer medical research grants at NIH.
◦ 950 fewer competitive science research awards at the NSF, affecting 11,600 researchers, technicians and students.
◦ 133,000 fewer families receiving Housing Choice Vouchers, and another 20,000 fewer rural families receiving help for affordable rental housing.
◦ Fewer community-based services for seniors, including approximately 500,000 fewer rides to doctors and grocery stores, approximately 200,000 fewer hours of assistance for seniors unable to perform activities of daily living, and approximately 100,000 fewer hours of care for dependent adults.
◦ 3,500 fewer low-income homes achieving annual energy cost savings through residential energy retrofits.
Meanwhile, as a wide range of national security experts ranging from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Ambassador John Bolton have pointed out, locking in sequestration for defense would undermine our readiness and efforts to secure technological superiority for U.S. forces in future conflicts. Instead of providing a plan to appropriately fund our national security, House Republicans try to have it both ways on defense funding – maintaining sequestration and then using overseas contingency operations funds intended for wars and not subject to budget caps to fund the day-to-day operations of the Pentagon. This is both bad budgeting and harmful to military planning — Senator John McCain has called it a “gimmick” and former House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan referred to it as treating overseas contingency funding as a “slush fund.”
• More than doubles cuts to middle class investments starting in 2017. In 2017, the House Republican budget more than doubles its cuts to these investments, and the cuts grow even deeper after that. The budget hides these deep cuts in later years to mask their effects. But if non-defense discretionary funding were cut 12 percent below sequestration levels in 2016 – the cut the Republican budget would make in 2018 – it would mean the following compared to the President’s Budget: [2]
◦ More than 157,000 children would lose out on access to Head Start services.
◦ More than 4 million workers would lose out on job training and employment services.
◦ Title I education funding would be $2.7 billion lower, enough to fund about 10,000 schools, 38,000 teachers, and aides, and 4.2 million students.
◦ IDEA funding would be nearly $1.6 billion lower, an amount that could support up to 26,800 special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and other related staff.
• Take away health insurance from more than 16 million people who have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is working. Thanks to its coverage provisions, the share of Americans without health insurance is at or near historic lows – and these provisions are costing almost one third less than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) initially projected. Almost exactly five years after the ACA was enacted into law, Republicans will be voting for the more than 50th time to repeal these provisions. Beyond the effect on the millions who have gained health insurance coverage through the ACA Marketplaces or through Medicaid, the House Republican Budget would:
◦ Deprive up to 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions of the security of knowing they will still be able to buy affordable health coverage if they lose their jobs or otherwise lose their health insurance;
◦ Deny millions of young adults of the option to stay on their parents’ plans if they re-enroll in school or get a job without health coverage; and;
◦ Increase prescription drug costs for more than 4 million seniors and people with disabilities.
• Reaches its fiscal targets through unspecified cuts and gimmicks, plus deep cuts to programs that serve the most vulnerable. On top of its cuts to middle-class investments and the ACA, the Republican budget calls for an additional nearly $2 trillion in cuts to health, safety net, and other mandatory programs. For the fifth year in a row, the budget declines to specify where almost $1 trillion of these savings would come from. But the budget does single out a few programs as the first places it would look to reduce the deficit:
◦ It eliminates mandatory funding for Pell Grants and freezes the maximum grant at its current level, instead of allowing it to increase to keep pace with inflation, and makes other unspecified cuts to the program. Over time, this would reduce financial aid for almost all of the more than 8 million students who rely on Pell Grants to afford college.
◦ It block grants Medicaid, cutting resources for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by more than $900 billion, on top of the impact of repealing the ACA coverage provisions. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of a similar proposal in previous Republican Budgets found that as many as 20 million people would be denied the coverage they would have gotten under pre-ACA Medicaid.
◦ It cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by about $140 billion over 10 years and in 2021 would block grant the program, jeopardizing the more than 46 million Americans who depend on it, the majority of them children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Research has shown that SNAP not only helps families put food on the table, but it also has a positive long-term impact on children’s health and education outcomes.
Since even these cuts leave the Republican budget short of its fiscal goals, House Republicans get the rest of the way there by policies such as:
◦ Declining to implement their own policies in their budget. While claiming to “fully repeal Obamacare” and stripping away health coverage from millions, the House Budget retains the ACA’s savings, claiming they will replace the revenues through unspecified tax reforms. And while House Republicans have voted to extend hundreds of billions in business tax cuts without offsets, their budget adds up only by assuming those measures would be paid for.
◦ Counting about $150 billion in deficit reduction from highly uncertain “dynamic scoring.” Not only is dynamic scoring uncertain in general, but the dynamic estimates of the Republican budget take into account only its deficit reduction, not the long-term economic costs of its cuts to research, education, and other investments.
◦ Terminating the FDIC’s Orderly Liquidation Authority. This authority was enacted to ensure taxpayer funds are never again used to bail out ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions. And though the House budget says it does “not rely on gimmicks or creative accounting tricks”, the ‘savings’ from this termination are both, because, by law, any costs of the program must be recouped from the financial industry.
The Republican budget also proposes other policy changes that generate little or no savings, but would have severe consequences for seniors and the middle class. It would:
• End Medicare as we know it. For new beneficiaries starting in 2024, the House Republican budget would end Medicare as we know it by substituting guaranteed access to the traditional Medicare program with a voucher program, increasing costs for millions of seniors and forcing millions out of traditional Medicare, risking a death spiral as private plans siphon off healthier and less expensive beneficiaries. Beneficiaries would receive a premium-support payment that may not completely offset the premium for the Medicare plan of their choice (either a private plan or the traditional Medicare program). As CBO and numerous outside analysts have found, under a voucher system healthier, lower-cost Medicare beneficiaries would be more likely to enroll in private plans. Meanwhile, traditional Medicare would increasingly be left with sicker, more expensive beneficiaries.
• Undercut important consumer protections. In addition to cutting services and aid for the most vulnerable, the House Republican budget calls for rolling back key aspects of Wall Street Reform, while underfunding the agencies working to implement it. It terminates mandatory funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), greatly limiting the independence of this watchdog for the rights of consumers. In the process, the House budget gains ‘creative accounting’ savings by shifting CFPB funding to appropriations. In addition, it risks returning us to the days of “too big to fail,” protecting Wall Street firms from important regulatory safeguards and putting ordinary citizens and the economy at risk.
• Do nothing to address our Nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The President has put forth a detailed plan to make significant investments in repairing and modernizing our infrastructure, paid for by closing specific loopholes that allow U.S. companies to shift profits and jobs to tax havens as part of pro-growth business tax reform. Not only does the House Republican budget lack a real plan to address the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund by establishing an unspecified reserve fund “to provide for innovative thinking,” but House Republicans’ extreme sequestration cuts put funding for successful infrastructure programs like TIGER grants at risk.
The consequences of the Republican budget approach for the economy and the middle-class are stark. The budget’s own numbers show that its deep near-term spending cuts would reduce the size of the economy by an average of 0.5 percent over the next three years, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Its cuts to investments in education, training, research, and manufacturing would have compounding effects on the economy over time.
Instead of the same top-down economics that led to the financial crisis, the President’s Budget invests in an economy that puts the middle class first and cuts the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. Now is the time to strengthen the standing of working and middle class families, not go back to the same failed Republican top-down economics.
[1] Similar to the analysis of House Republican budget cuts in 2016, the analysis of the 12 percent cut relative to sequestration levels assumes an across-the-board reduction to the enacted 2015 levels and compares to the President’s 2016 proposals.
[2] Because the House Republican budget does not provide specific discretionary program levels, this analysis assumes an overall nominal percentage reduction in available non-defense discretionary funds of 1.5 percent below currently enacted 2015 levels, in order to account for both sequestration and unavoidable cost growth in certain areas (such as veterans’ medical care). This reduction is applied mechanically across-the-board to all discretionary programs. To prevent cuts of this magnitude in any specific program would require deeper cuts than described in other programs.

Bernie Sanders Storms The Senate and Rips The Republican Rich Get Richer Budget

bernie sanders republican budget
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) showed why he was named to the top Democratic post on the Senate Budget Committee by shredding the Republican budget proposals/
Sen. Sanders said:
As I examine the budget brought forth by the Republicans in the House and here in the Senate, this is how I see their analysis of the problems facing our country.

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the Republicans apparently believe that the richest people in America need to be made even richer. It is apparently not good enough that 99 percent of all new income today is going to the top 1 percent. That’s apparently not enough. It is not good enough that the top one-tenth of one percent today own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Clearly, in Republican eyes, the wealthy and the powerful need more help. Not only should they not be asked to pay more in taxes, the Republicans believe that we should cut tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.

It is not good enough that corporate America is enjoying record breaking profits, and that the CEOs of large corporations earn some 290 times more than what their average employees make.

“It is apparently not good enough that since 1985 the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen a more then $8 trillion increase in its wealth than what they would have had if wealth inequality had stayed at the same level that it was in 1985. An $8 trillion increase in the wealth of the top one-tenth of 1 percent! Apparently, that is not enough.
Meanwhile, as I understand the Republican view of our country, as manifested in the House and Senate budgets, it appears that millions of middle class and working families, people who are working longer hours for lower wages, people who have seen significant declines in their standard of living over the last 40 years, these people apparently do not need our help, rather they need to see a major reduction in federal programs that help make their lives, and the lives of their kids, a little bit better.
At a time when we have over 45 million Americans living in poverty – more than almost any time in the modern history of this country, my Republican colleagues think we should increase that number by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit, affordable housing, and Medicaid. At a time when almost 20 percent of our children live in poverty, by far the highest childhood poverty rate of any major country on earth, my Republican colleagues think that maybe we should raise the childhood poverty rate a bit higher by cutting childcare, Head Start, the Child Tax Credit and nutrition assistance for hungry kids.

To summarize: the rich get much richer, and the Republicans think they need more help. The middle class and working families of this country become poorer, and the Republicans think we need to cut programs they desperately need. Frankly, those may be the priorities of some of my Republican colleagues in this room, but I do not believe that these are the priorities of the American people.
Sen. Sanders was correct. The Republicans are offering up the ultimate rich get richer budgets. The goal of the Republican budget is to take money away from poor and middle-class Americans and give it to the people at the top. Sanders was spot on. No matter how much wealth the richest Americans accumulate, Congressional Republicans believe that they deserve more.
The House and Senate Republican budget deserve the scorn of the American people because they explicitly confirm the Republican goal of creating an oligarchic society that consists of a few haves and everyone else being a have not. Bernie Sanders saw the picture behind the budget. The Republican budgets have become an annual declaration of economic warfare against the non-rich.
President Obama and Bernie Sanders have both sounded the alarms bells as it relates to this budget, and if Republicans want a fight, they’ve got one.

Boehner’s Defense of the GOP Budget is Pure Fiction, if Lies Can be Called Pure

John Boehner wants you to believe the demands of ideology over demonstrable facts, the same recipe that led us to the crash of 2008…

Republican Budget Joke

A Sick Perverted Joke

Robert Reich: ‘Redistribution’ May Be Our Economy’s Only Hope

It’s now possible to produce and distribute new products to hundreds of millions of people without a single person touching the product. That’s the horrifying scenario that former…

House Republicans' budget plan would gut Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law

House Republicans' budget plan would gut Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law

Senator Fights GOP – Proposes Brilliant Idea to Help Working Families Anyway

Patty MurraySenator Patty Murray (D-WA) has a high aspiration of raising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 and having it rise with the cost of living. It’s higher…

House Budget Bill Repeals ACA, Privatizes Medicare

House Budget Bill Repeals ACA, Privatizes Medicare
We can't have Americans getting quality health care when there are wars to create, right?

Kansas Governor Claims Forcing Pregnancy Upon Women Is Good For The Economy

Image via Davis for Kansas.
The cost of having children is high and there are more people than there are jobs, but Kansas Governor Sam Brownback insists that forcing women to have babies is good for the economy.

Republicans Unveil Their Plan To Take Health Care Away From 14-20 Million Americans

Republican leaders Senator Mitch McConnell and John Boehner speak after a bipartisan meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in WashingtonA centerpiece of the House and Senate Republican budgets is a plan to take away health care from 14.3-20.5 million Americans.
House and Senate Republicans plan to use two steps to take away health care from tens of millions of Americans. Step one is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Step two is the conversion of Medicaid funding into a block grant.
The House budget has been analyzed in greater detail, but Senate Republicans have confirmed that their budget will contain similar language.
The Center For Budget and Policy Priorities laid out the impact of this double fisted gut punch to the American people:
Repealing health reform’s Medicaid expansion means that 14 million people would lose their Medicaid coverage or no longer gain coverage in the future. (That’s the number of people who the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates would eventually gain coverage under the Medicaid expansion, though it could reach 17 million if all states adopt the expansion.) In addition, the large and growing cut in federal Medicaid funding from the block grant would almost certainly force states to sharply scale back or eliminate Medicaid coverage for millions of low-income people who have it today. All told, after accounting for the plan’s proposed repeal of health reform’s marketplace subsidies, tens of millions of people would likely become uninsured under Chairman Price’s plan.
Under the Price plan, the federal government would no longer pay a fixed share of states’ Medicaid costs, starting in 2017. Instead, states would get a fixed dollar amount of federal funding known as “State Flexibility Funds.” (The budget plan doesn’t specify how it would set each state’s block grant amounts initially or adjust them each year.)
The Urban Institute estimated that former Chairman Ryan’s similar block grant proposal in 2012 would lead states to drop between 14.3 million and 20.5 million people from Medicaid by the tenth year (outside of the effects of repealing health reform’s Medicaid expansion). That would cause a drop in enrollment of between 25 percent and 35 percent. The Urban Institute also estimated that the block grant likely would have caused cuts in reimbursements to health care providers of more than 30 percent by the tenth year. Chairman Price’s Medicaid block grant proposal likely would mean similarly draconian cuts.
The current House Republican budget is Paul Ryan’s plan with one key difference. More people are going to lose or be underinsured under the new version of Ryan’s plan. By repealing Obamacare, tens of millions of additional Americans would lose their subsidies, or be thrown off of their parents’ insurance. The changes to Medicaid alone would result in 14-20 million losing their health care, and an additional 10-13 million would be underinsured after they lost their ACA subsidies.
The only way that Republicans can afford to cut taxes for wealthy and balance the budget is to take away health care from tens of millions of Americans. A budget is a statement of priorities. House Republicans made it clear that taking away access to health care while cutting taxes for the rich and corporations is their top priority.
One of the issues that Republican presidential candidates will try to disguise and not talk about is the impact that their plan to repeal the ACA will have on the American people. Republicans are constructing a platform that is based on jeopardizing the welfare and lives of millions of their constituents.
As Obamacare grows more successful, the potential impact of their plan to destroy it all becomes more devastating by the year.

Wingnut Ignorance

Senate Democrats Own McConnell By Blocking Human Trafficking Bill For Second Time

Dem senators Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren
Senate Democrats are not caving to Mitch McConnell’s pressure tactics. Democrats have blocked a human trafficking bill that contains controversial abortion language for a second straight day.
The final vote was 57-41, and motion to reconsider failed.
Before the vote, McConnell tod Senate Democrats to do the right thing by betraying their own values, “That’s why the distinguished Democratic Leader had been such a strong supporter of the bipartisan Hyde provision for so many years, and why he said this during his tenure as Majority Leader: My belief in the sanctity of life is why I have repeatedly voted against using taxpayer money for abortions.’ That is the declared view of the Democratic Leader. It’s what he said just a few short years ago—before he and his party voted to filibuster a bill that would help the victims of modern slavery. So, this afternoon, we invite Democrats to ignore the lobbyists and do the right thing. We invite every Democrat to help us write a happy ending to this story: where the forces of hope and humanity, not powerful lobbyists, prevail.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) offered McConnell a way out of the mess that that Senate Republican created, “Instead of being bogged down in another Republican contrived legislative fight, I propose a path forward. It’s simple and direct. While we work towards an agreement to pass trafficking legislation—and there’s work being done on that as we speak—we should move to the executive calendar and consider the nomination of Loretta Lynch. Democrats are fully committed to voting for Lynch’s nomination and returning immediately to the trafficking bill. We can do two things at once. I am disappointed that with all the work the Senate needs to accomplish, the Majority Leader is bound and determined to waste the rest of this week with political show votes. Loretta Lynch has already waited 130 days. There’s no reason to delay her confirmation another minute. We can vote for her confirmation right now and immediately move back to the trafficking bill.”
McConnell is spinning his wheels while achieving nothing. Democrats aren’t going to allow the bill to move forward as long as the abortion language is included. Sen. McConnell thinks that he is turning up the pressure on Democrats by forcing them to vote no on the same bill repeatedly, but what he is really accomplishing is an affirmation of the Democrats’ power in the Senate.
There is tone deaf element to McConnell’s strategy. There could have been lots of legislation moving through the Senate if McConnell weren’t so intent on proving his power. McConnell refuses to meet Democrats in the middle, which is why nothing is getting done. Democrats aren’t going to support legislation that has ideological poison pills attached to it.
Senate Democrats are owning Mitch McConnell, who has proven himself to be a reactive Majority Leader. McConnell isn’t going to be able to hold up the final vote on the Loretta Lynch nomination forever. Democrats know that by holding strong they will win this fight too.
Republicans may hold a majority of the seats in the Senate, but the real power rests with the Democrats.

It's Official: More Americans Want To Press Charges Against #47Traitors Than Deport Justin Bieber

“He who laughs last laughs best,” the old adage goes.
On March 9, C.H. created a petition demanding that the White House file charges against the #47Traitors who wrote, signed and sent a letter to Iran titled:  “File charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement.”  And of course, the right-wing trolls converged upon this earnest demand for justice like a pack of cackling, flea-bitten hyenas circling a defenseless morsel of prey.
First came the American Spectator, whose headline jeered Petition to Charge Sen. Tom Cotton with Treason Gets Fewer Signatures Than ‘Deport Justin Bieber.‘” That’s right. These wingnut bullies thought they could dismiss our concerns about high-handed GOP lawmakers undermining our nation’s foreign policy by making us look petty. As though expecting the #47Traitors — oops — 47 GOP Senators to be held accountable for their treasonous letter is every bit as silly as those non-“Belieber” pranksters wanting to send an obnoxious pop star back to Canada.
Tom Cotton may be facing down a whopping 140,000 Americans who, spurred on by Facebook posts and Twitter entreaties, have signed their name to an Internet missive, but he’s far from the top target of even We the People’s ire.
Deporting Justin Bieber and revoking his greencard? That got  nearly 275,000 signatures.
I guess we know which one is truly the American peoples’ priority.
Hahaha. Those #47Traitors people are so danged funny.
Petition For Charging #47Traitors Gains Over 293K Signatures in less than a week.
There’s just one problem. When the American Spectator’s polemic went up, the petition for charging the #47Traitors had only been posted two days before. So of course it had far fewer signatures than the “Deport Justin Bieber” petition, which went up over a year ago. On March 16 — a scant five days later — the petition signatures present a very different picture. At the time of this writing, 273,968 signed on to demand that President Obama revoke Justin Bieber’s green card and send him packing to Canada. Meanwhile, The petition demanding that we file charges against the #47Traitors has collected a whopping 293,144 signatures. So who’s a “Belieber” now, Senator Tom Cotton?
WhiteHouse.Gov petitions are not legally binding, of course. But the ones that gather over 100,000 signatures within 30 days do require Obama to provide a timely response. While Obama — like most liberals — has an unfortunate tendency towards civility, the obnoxious and obstructive Republicans have sorely tried his patience in recent years. Will this be the time Obama finally paddles the GOP’s douche canoe? We sure hope so.

Jeb Bush’s email troubles grow more serious

By Steve Benen
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks to the media after visiting Integra Biosciences during a campaign stop in Hudson, N.H. on March 13, 2015. The political world knew that the 2016 presidential race would take shape early this year, but few could have guessed that email access and email security would be one of the dominant issues in the nascent election cycle.
Hillary Clinton’s private email account during her tenure as Secretary of State has been the subject of enormous interest to the media and Republicans, with former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) helping lead the charge. “For security purposes, you need to be behind a firewall that recognizes the world for what it is, and it’s a dangerous world, and security would mean that you couldn’t have a private server,” the Republican complained last week. “It’s a little baffling, to be honest with you, that didn’t come up in Secretary Clinton’s thought process.”
It’s equally baffling that Bush had no idea how vulnerable he was on the issue he’s chosen to complain about.
Jeb Bush used his private e-mail account as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants, according to a review of publicly released records.
The e-mails include two series of exchanges involving details of Florida National Guard troop deployments after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the review by The Washington Post found.
The Washington Post’s report on the security risks surrounding Jeb Bush conducting official business on his private account coincided with a New York Times article, which noted that it took the former governor more than seven years “to comply fully with a Florida public records statute” on email disclosure.
The report quoted a non-partisan expert with the Florida-based First Amendment Foundation who said Bush’s disclosure policy was “a technical violation of the law.” The governor was required to turn over records pertaining to official business “at the expiration of his or her term of office,” and the Republican waited more than seven years to meet these obligations.
And while the revelations are themselves noteworthy, what seems especially problematic for Bush is the broader context in which these details appear.
If, for example, the Clinton story never existed, and we were just now learning about Bush’s emails, my suspicion is the revelations would be treated largely as an afterthought. To be sure, transparency and sunshine laws matter, but it’s hard to imagine the Beltway media creating a feeding frenzy, featuring breathless coverage of Jeb’s email “scandal.” Even his Democratic detractors would probably prefer to focus their energies elsewhere.
But the Clinton email story does exist, and collectively, the political world decided this is an important national issue, crucial to evaluating the competence and credibility of a leading presidential contender. Bush himself encouraged this heightened scrutiny, talking publicly about how “baffling” Clinton’s actions were on the issue.
It’s against this backdrop that we’ve discovered that Bush “did exactly what Hillary did.” After he and his team went through official emails, they decided “what were public-record emails and what wasn’t.” The fact that he also ignored state law and created security risks only complicates matters further.
What we’re left with are legitimate concerns about Bush’s judgment. When he went on the offensive on the Clinton email story, did he not think his own, nearly identical problems would emerge? Or was this a case in which Team Jeb went on the attack without bothering to recognize their vulnerability?
Either way, Bush has worked assiduously to cultivate an image of a hyper-competent manager. If he wants this reputation to be taken seriously, the GOP candidate has a long way to go.

No Schock Here: Scandal Plagued Republican Congressman Resigns in Ignominy

Aaron SchockThe most unfortunate (current) blight on Illinois politics this side of one-percent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has finally come to an end. Multiple sources including POLITICO confirmed on St. Patrick’s Day that scandal-ridden Prairie State Representative Aaron Schock of the 18th District had finally shown himself the door.
POLITICO played a high-profile role in the announcement, as Schock’s resignation arrived a mere 12 hours after the website raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements the Republican had claimed for his personal vehicle. Anyone who bet on the 33 year-old former lawmaker getting booted over his lavish Downton Abbey -inspired Congressional office has suffered a major upset.
Writers Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan of POLITCO reported:
“Schock billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car from January 2010 through July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer, according to public records obtained by POLITICO under Illinois open records laws. The documents, in other words, indicate he was reimbursed for 90,000 miles more than his car was driven.”
Uh oh. The article continues with the understatement, “The discrepancy added to a growing wave of ethical and legal problems for the 33-year-old politician.” The news is a major blow to a GOP struggling to reinvent its national brand as inclusive, diverse, young and vibrant. The party had considered the fallen congressman one of its rising stars and most successful fundraisers.
It has indeed been a busy winter for political gossip involving Schock. The trouble began in early February amid growing whispers about that aforementioned Downtown Abbey office. On the third of the month, Caitlin Dickson of Yahoo! News recounted an uncomfortable run-in between Schock’s staff and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, who was initially offered a tour of the lavish workspace:
“For a man who bared his chest on newsstands [Paul Ryan – eat your heart out], the rush to shield Schock’s spectacular office from speculation is puzzling. Perhaps his staff was concerned that Schock’s decision to pay out of pocket for elaborate decorations when the House of Representatives provided him with the basics might be seen as contrasting with his fiscally conservative image.”
Apparently the young lawmaker has learned the hard way that the only way to avoid the fiscal hypocrite label is to, you know, not be one. Schock subsequently repaid the government $40,000 in a limp effort to fend off an ethics investigation. But that crack in the dam morphed into a full blown burst with the latest POLITICO whistle blow.
Naturally the disgraced lawmaker would have us believe that he is the victim, yet another fallen soldier on the “gotcha” journalism battlefield. In a statement formally announcing his resignation, Schock declared, “Constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself…I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents, and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”
Schock will remain in office until March 31, which unfortunately gives the people of Illinois two more full weeks of his “high standards.” How much is that going to cost?