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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you. 
The shitstorm you've been stirring up is coming down the road to smack you in the face ...!  
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What is NOT covered under ObamaCare

The Choice Is Clear: Democrats Would Raise Your Pay, GOP Wants No Minimum Wage At All

by Elisabeth Parker  
Still think both political parties are the same? When it comes to the minimum wage — how much we all get paid — the choice couldn’t be more clear. Democrats want to raise the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour, while Republicans want to get rid of the minimum wage altogether.
That’s right. Our nation’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is already so low that there is not a single state in the U.S. where a person making the federal minimum wage could afford a two bedroom apartment for their family. In some states, even two minimum wage earners would not be able to cover the rent even if they both worked 40 hours a week.
It’s a good thing so many states and cities have taken things into their own hands and passed their own minimum wage laws: Thanks to the GOP, the federal minimum wage is a slave wage that hasn’t gone up since 2007. And before that, the minimum wage had been stuck at a paltry $5.10 per hour for a decade.
Huffington Post reports Senate Democrats have proposed raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and are now talking about hiking it up to $12.00 per hour.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate’s labor committee, has been reaching out to her Democratic colleagues to rally support for a more ambitious minimum wage proposal, according to a Senate source familiar with the conversations.
Meanwhile, MSNBC reports that Jeb Bush — the GOP’s current top pick for 2016 — got caught on video saying he wants no minimum wage at all.  That’s right. Bush wants to leave worker pay up to the “free market.” Which isn’t a “free market” at all. The people who run our nation’s corporations use their vast wealth and power to keep wages and salaries as low as possible. But after 40 years of union busting by conservatives as well as by neoliberals, Americans who work for a living have little to no representation in this so-called “free market” at all.
During a speech to his supporters in South Carolina, GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush came out against a federal minimum wage. He wants to leave it to states, and “to the private sector.” Because former slave states have used their poverty-pimping economic development model — exporting cheap commodities produced by docile, low-wage workers — to  enrich their elites since before the civil war. And since these policies make people poorer, red states also get to rake in welfare funding from the U.S. government they claim to hate. Not to mention all those farm subsidies and corporate tax breaks.
Here’s what Bush said in South Carolina when asked what he thinks about raising the minimum wage:
“We need to leave it to the private sector. I think state minimum wages are fine. The federal government shouldn’t be doing this. This is one of those poll-driven deals. It polls well, I’m sure – I haven’t looked at the polling, but I’m sure on the surface without any conversation, without any digging into it people say, ‘Yea, everybody’s wages should be up.’ And in the case of Wal-Mart they have raised wages because of supply and demand and that’s good.
But the federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached, particularly for young people, particularly for people that have less education.”
Bush talks about the “first rung of the ladder,” as if the so-called ladder doesn’t lead to a musty, old empty attic. I mean, how far can a Walmart worker or restaurant server hope to rise these days? Jobs are few and far between in many places. After they become manager, they can start their own restaurant or store: But the small businesses that once helped power America’s economy will likely fail because their neighbors can’t afford to buy anything or eat out.
And lest you think Bush is just trying to appeal to the more radical fringes of his party, MSNBC points out that a $0 minimum wage has become the new normal within the GOP. Republican lawmakers like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have also expressed similar views.

GOP 2016 hopeful Jeb Bush wants a $0 minimum wage.

Bernie Sanders Demands War Tax On Millionaires To Pay For GOP Military Spending Increase

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is demanding that Republicans pay for their proposed $96 billion increase in military spending with a tax increase on millionaires.
In a statement, Sanders said:
Republicans have been telling us for years that because of high deficits we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, nutrition and virtually every program that benefits working families. On the other hand, their concerns about deficits seem to disappear when it comes to war and defense spending. The Republicans took us into protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and ran up our national debt by trillions because they chose not to pay for those wars. Instead, they put the cost of those wars on our national credit card. Yesterday, Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee voted for an increase of $38 billion in defense spending – all added to the deficit.
The Republican Party is going to have to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt. They are going to have to be honest with the American people. Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget. If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for. This is an issue that I and others intend to raise forcefully during this week’s debate on the Senate floor. I strongly expect that there will be amendments demanding that Republicans tell us how they will pay for another war.
Sen. Sanders isn’t just demanding the war tax. He is going to force Republicans to vote on it by proposing a war tax amendment. The way the Vermont senator has handled the Republican budget is the exact reason why Harry Reid gave him the top Democratic seat on the Senate Budget Committee. Bernie Sanders has waged a tireless battle against the Republican budget all week long. After Republican war hawks, led by Lindsey Graham, threatened to blow up the budget over military funding cuts, Republicans caved, but now they are going to have to deal with Sen. Sanders pointing out their hypocrisy at every turn.
If Republicans want their $96 billion, they are going to have to pay for it. Sen. Sanders was correct. Republicans claim that every single social program that benefits middle-class Americans and their children must be cut, but they were able to find $96 billion under the congressional couch cushions to make war hawks like Lindsey Graham happy.
Bernie Sanders is holding Republicans accountable to what they claim their principles are. Republicans are demanding that spending be paid for, and excess military spending should be no different. Republicans aren’t going to be allowed to throw more war spending on the nation’s credit card.
The message is clear. If Republicans want a new war, their beloved millionaire “job creators” are going to have to pay for it.

Obama White House Blasts McConnell For Telling States To Break The Law

The White House is laying into Mitch McConnell after the Senate Majority Leader wrote a letter to the nation’s governors telling them to ignore new EPA rules.
In his letter to the governors, McConnell wrote:
Some have recently suggested that failing to comply with the EPA’s requirements would be to disregard the law. But the fact is, it is the EPA that is failing to comply with the law here. By requiring states to submit a plan aimed at achieving a lower emissions target based upon four so-called “building blocks” — (1) improved power plant efficiencies, (2) switching electricity generation sources, (3) building new generation and transmission, and (4) reducing demand — the EPA is overreaching, as its authority under the Clean Air Act extends only to the first building block related to source specific energy efficiency upgrades.


This proposed plan is already on shaky legal grounds, will be extremely burdensome and costly, and will not seriously address the global environmental concerns that are frequently raised to justify it. Moreover, declining to go along with the administration’s legally dubious plan will give the other two branches of government time to address the proposal and will not put your state at risk in the interim. It will provide time for the courts to rule on whether the EPA’s proposed rule is legal, and it will give Congress a chance to address numerous concerns surrounding this latest power grab by the EPA.
The White House fired back via spokesman Frank Benenati, “Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges that we face, and instead of offering solutions, Sen. McConnell’s alternative is an inappropriate and unfounded attempt to dictate state decisions. While Sen. McConnell and the other climate deniers in Congress will do everything they can to block or hinder the administration’s progress on climate change, the administration is committed to moving forward to tackle climate change head on because science, history, and the American people are on our side.”
Sen. McConnell is openly telling states to violate federal law. There has been a great deal of public outrage over the 47 Republican senators who sent a letter to the Iranian government, but little has been said about the Senate Majority Leader trying to undercut the federal government by advising states to break the law.
Republicans have learned nothing from the Affordable Care Act debacle. Republican governors believed that they could stop the ACA by refusing to set up their own exchanges. They are applying the same failed principles to the EPA’s new rules. If states don’t submit compliance plans, the EPA will do it for them. McConnell is advising states to take away their own power.
What Mitch McConnell is trying to do is worse than when Speaker Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress. McConnell is actively trying to undermine the Executive Branch of the federal government. McConnell is urging states to break the law. The Republican Party is quickly becoming a lawless enterprise that exists for the sole intention of undermining President Barack Obama.

Word definitions ...

Republicans are clueless

Finally America Will Re-evaluate Unconditional Backing For Israel

Regardless any Americans' opinion about the Jewish state, giving Israel free taxpayer money is supporting it; like it or not. Many Americans do not like it one bit…

Payback Time: Obama Puts Netanyahu In His Place During Tough Phone Call

In a tense phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama delivered the message that he is going forward with trying to negotiate a deal with Iran on their nuclear program, reassessing U.S. options, and reaffirmed his support for the two-state solution. In other words, it’s payback time.
Here is how the White House described the Obama/Netanyahu phone call:
President Obama spoke today by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu to congratulate the Prime Minister on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats. The President emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine. On Iran, the President reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
President Obama’s comments about reassessing options match the language used by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. During his daily briefing with reporters, Earnest said, “I’m not suggesting that any policy decisions have been made at this point. I don’t want to leave you with that impression. In fact, what I have tried to say is that it, understandably, has prompted us to reevaluate the strategy that we will put in place to make those decisions. And that will be something that we will do moving forward….Well, again, decisions that — steps that the United States has taken at the United Nations have been predicated on this idea that the two-state solution is the best outcome. Now our ally in these talks has said that they are no longer committed to that solution. That means that we need to reevaluate our position in this matter, and that is what we will do moving forward.”
Netanyahu needs U.S. support and aid. It is no wonder that he backtracked so quickly on his opposition to the two-state solution. Netanyahu may talk a tough game, but he needs the support of the United States. Obama put the fear of God into conservative hero Netanyahu by suggesting that his behavior during his reelection campaign might have been the final straw.
It is clear that President Obama hasn’t forgotten the slap in the face that was Netanyahu’s address to Congress. The president made it clear to Netanyahu that his stunt with his Republican buddies isn’t going to stop a possible agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama hasn’t forgotten what Netanyahu has done, and the payback might make the Israeli Prime Minister wish that he had never messed with the President Of The United States.

Boehner Going To Israel To Sabotage Likely Obama Nuclear Agreement With Iran

Republicans are opening a new front in their campaign to undercut the Commander In Chief. Speaker of the House John Boehner will be going to Israel to meet with Netanyahu around the same time that the White House expects an agreement to be reached on Iran’s nuclear program.
Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith confirmed the visit, which will take place during the Easter recess and marks Boehner’s first trip to the nation since becoming Speaker. His last visit was in 2008.
“The Speaker will visit Israel during the next district work period. He looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel,” Smith said.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the speaker’s trip will begin March 31, and he’ll be leading a congressional delegation of Republican lawmakers.
Boehner’s visit will coincide with the when the White House anticipates that a deal will be reached with Iran on their nuclear program. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “At the end of this month we would anticipate a political agreement.” A political agreement is not the same as a formal agreement. It is expected that the hammering out of key technical details will not be completed until June.
Given the fact that an agreement is expected to be reached by the end of the month, it’s clear why Boehner is going to meet Netanyahu. It is widely anticipated that Speaker of the House will stand on foreign soil and criticize the President Of The United States. Boehner’s actions will reflect those of a political party that has been unable to hide their contempt for the President Of The United States.
Rep. Boehner will be going to Israel in order to sow divide and discord. The Boehner trip will be the next move from Republicans who have sworn to oppose a peaceful and diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions at all costs. Beyond disrespecting the president, congressional Republicans are still frantically trying to assert their power over Obama. Speaker Boehner will be openly siding with a sworn enemy of diplomatic peace while undermining the foreign policy of the United States of America.

Cotton worries about US interference in foreign negotiations

by Steve Benen
In this file photo taken July 26, 2014, U.S. Rep. and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Cotton speaks at a campaign event in Little Rock, Ark. (Photo by Danny Johnston/AP)On the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) shared some striking concerns about U.S. foreign policy. He also offered a rather profound example of a politician failing a test of self-awareness.
Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that when it comes to the U.S. policy towards Israel, “We’re currently evaluating our approach.” The comments were important, but not surprising – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent antics were bound to carry some consequences.
But Cotton, the right-wing freshman in his second month in the Senate, called Psaki’s comments “worrisome“ – for a very specific reason.
“While Prime Minister Netanyahu won a decisive victory, he still has just started assembling a governing majority coalition. These kinds of quotes from Israel’s most important ally could very well startle some of the smaller parties and their leaders with whom Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently in negotiations.
“This raises the question, of course, if the administration intends to undermine Prime Minister Netanyahu’s efforts to assemble a coalition by suggesting a change to our longstanding policy of supporting Israel’s position with the United Nations.”
Hold on a second. Cotton is now concerned about U.S. officials “undermining” foreign officials “currently in negotiations”?
Not to put too fine a point on this, but it was literally just two weeks ago that Cotton took it upon himself to organize a letter to Iran from 47 Senate Republicans. The point of the correspondence, by Cotton’s own admission, was to target international diplomacy, undermine American foreign policy, and disrupt officials during their ongoing negotiations.
I’m going to assume the Arkansas Republican remembers this. It caused a bit of a stir.
And yet, there Cotton was yesterday, expressing concern that a State Department official, simply by stating a simple fact about U.S. foreign policy, might “startle” officials abroad. These officials are “currently in negotiations,” so the GOP senator apparently believes Americans should be cautious not to interfere.
The irony is simply breathtaking. The mind reels.

Save Your Country

For your Safety, Security and Peace of Mind, geld and cage these rabid animals today!

Massive School Layoffs, Healthcare, Food Stamp Cuts Populate Scott Walker’s Koch Budget

Scott Walker's budget epitomizes the Koch-Republican "vision for America" and not at all unique among states ruled by Koch-governors with Republican legislatures.
scott walker emails If idiot Americans were unsure, or confused, about what kind of damage the Koch Congress intended to wreak on the nation by way of “dynamically scored” budget cuts, they should be aware by now after Republicans released what can only be called a Draconian austerity attack on domestic programs. The House budget leaves no domestic program unharmed, and increases tax breaks for the rich and more money for the defense industry including racist warmongering Israelis. More on that in another article.
The only remote hope to thwart austerity madness at the national level is a united Democratic caucus in the Senate. But with Republicans planning a “reconciliation” plot, the only firewall to a devastating austerity attack is President Obama’s veto pen. Sadly, in Republican-controlled states there is no firewall, and since the Koch brothers own and operate GOP governors and legislatures, there is some seriously Draconian cuts on the horizon; none as harsh and damaging than Wisconsin’s Koch governor’s attack on public education.
Scott Walker’s budget epitomizes the Koch-Republican “vision for America” and not at all unique among states ruled by Koch-governors with Republican legislatures. In Wisconsin, because Walker has driven the state’s deficit over the $2 billion mark with tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, he intends on slashing yet another  $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system over two years,  and for fun will make seriously Draconian cuts to health care and food stamps. All to preserve tax cuts for the rich and corporations and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to build a professional basketball stadium.  It is why the Koch Congress lusts to change Medicaid and food stamps to block grants; so Koch governors can appropriate them according to the Kochs’ “vision for America;” a vision that does not include a public education system.
Walker’s cuts already have colleges across the state suffering, and now they are bracing for the worst funding cuts to levels not seen in twenty years. Thus far, at just one campus, 325 staff and faculty members were offered “go away packages” which is over 25% of UW-Eau-Claire campus. Another campus reports having to completelyeliminate several entire majors” regardless of how many students are already enrolled, and will have to layoff half the school’s departments.
Public primary schools across Wisconsin will fair no better and will lose about $127 million more in education aid next year that a three decade-long teacher said is beyond  “breathtaking;” particularly since public schools they are “still reeling” from Walker’s 2011 deep education cuts. Walker, like most Republican governors will use money from the education cuts for property tax relief specifically slated for the wealthiest people in the state. State educators say Wisconsin schools already suffer from “Depression-like economic conditions” such as overcrowded classrooms and epic cuts to music, art, and physical education programs. It is important to reiterate that the Koch brothers want public education eliminated completely; this is just a start and a portent of what Republicans intend to do nationwide. Wisconsin is just one of several states preparing their residents for what is certainly a nation without public education.
In Illinois, residents are organizing against Governor Bruce Rauner’s education cuts to take funding levels back to the 1950s despite the student population is three times larger today. Like in Wisconsin and Kansas, the education cuts, along with healthcare and food stamp cuts, are an attempt to cover in excess of a $6.2 billion budget deficit. At the University level, officials already predicted there will be “hundreds of staff cuts” at campuses and complete elimination of the pharmacy and flight schools. Students are pushing for the cuts to be distributed fairly among college presidents and chancellors who earn salaries in excess of $400,000 a year, but more education damage is possible laying off hundreds of professors making a tenth of that.
Like other Koch-governed states, Republicans could fund schools and keep bloated-salaried administrators and pathetically underpaid teachers employed if they eliminated tax cuts for the rich and corporations. But that is not something the Kochs will allow at the state level any more than the federal level because where the public education system  is concerned, they want it eliminated entirely; a goal Republicans adamantly share.
Another Koch governor, Louisiana’s Piyush Jindal intends to impose more than $200 million more in education cuts to cover the more than $1.6 billion budget deficit; a direct result of “massive tax cuts” for corporations and the rich. In fact, legislators on both sides of the partisan divide have begged Piyush to consider ending just a fraction of the epic tax cuts, but like the Koch-devotee in Kansas Sam Brownback, Jindal said ending any tax cuts is off the table. He told an audience in Washington that, “I’ll veto any tax increase and I’ll veto any budget that includes a tax increase.”
It is noteworthy that Brownback, Jindal, Walker, and Rauner, all Koch Republicans, are leading states that are running monumental budget deficits due to tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Every one of the Koch-owned Republicans are drastically cutting education, healthcare, and food stamps to cover the budget holes and not one of the Koch acolytes will consider ending tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. It is far easier, and part of the Koch vision, to impose massive cuts to education funding and fire teachers that, as a value-added bonus, keeps the next generation of residents as monumentally stupid as the voters that elect them in the first place.
What is happening in Wisconsin, like Kansas, Louisiana, and many, many other Republican states is a well-conceived and executed plot to keep a perpetual stupidity-loop among the voting populace in place. The recent midterm elections fairly prove that cutting education is working to perfection for Republicans who will stay in power until they fulfill the Koch brothers’ goal of eliminating public education in America; even If they have to do it in one bankrupt Republican state at a time.

U.S. Justice Department and FBI Investigating Republican Congressman Aaron Shock

Aaron_Schock,_official_photo_portrait,_111th_CongressThe Associated Press reported that the United States Justice Department has initiated a criminal investigation against Republican Illinois Representative Aaron Shock. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has begun issuing subpoenas to potential witnesses, who could be compelled to testify against the GOP Congressman.
On Tuesday, the embattled Republican announced he was resigning from Congress, effective March 31st. His announcement came after it became readily apparent that he might face a prolonged inquiry into House ethics violations.
However, the federal inquiry may subject him to serious criminal charges as well. The Associated Press reported Friday, that according to a source close to the case, government officials were planning to convene a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois to bring federal charges against Shock.
The federal probe will have plenty of avenues to pursue as Shock’s prolific spending habits and ethical lapses have spawned a torrent of allegations surrounding the disgraced lawmaker.
Shock was once viewed as a rising star within the ranks of the GOP. He was touted as a dapper fellow, with great abs, who could lure young voters into the Republican fold with his youthful enthusiasm and good looks. He even spearheaded a major recruiting effort, to try to encourage Republicans under 40 to run for office.
Despite his youthful exuberance, Shock still pursued the same outdated policies of his older House Republican colleagues. Furthermore, rather than changing the culture of corruption in Washington, he embraced it. He not only embraced it, but injected steroids into it, turning political graft into a source of personal enrichment so that he could live lavishly. Although he ran as a fiscal conservative, he bilked the taxpayers to subsidize his expensive tastes.
Shock, of course, touted himself as a fiscal conservative who would eliminate government waste, even as he was apparently billing taxpayers for vehicle miles he never drove. Like so many Republican lawmakers he demands his constituents, especially those who are poor, take personal responsibility for their lives, and he counsels them not become dependent on government support. Yet, like so many of his Republican colleagues, he does not hold him self to the same standards. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to think he should be required to obey the law.
Now that a federal investigation into Shock’s criminal behavior is underway, it is clear that he is now a falling star. Shock flaunted the rules with such reckless abandon that he figuratively shot himself in the foot. In the process, he demonstrated quite clearly, that the Republican’s “young guns” don’t shoot any straighter than their grey-haired counterparts on Capitol Hill.

Using a Convention of States to Destroy the Federal Government for the Kochs

Republicans are supporting using Article V of the Constitution not to propose amendments to the Constitution, but to destroy the government…
Coburn_Fischer When Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) retired, he joined the Convention of States Project as a senior adviser. If you want to know how serious an endeavor this is, Breitbart informs us that, “Additional high profile supporters of the effort include, Sarah Palin, national radio talk show host Mark Levin, former U. S. Ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray, Col. Allen West, Mike Huckabee and Governor Bobby Jindal.”
So to put it bluntly, Coburn is walking hand in hand with such intellectual giants as Sarah Palin, who took to Facebook in February to support the movement, and the man who put stupid back into the Republican Party, Bobby Jindal, who offered his own endorsement back in November of 2014. You can add Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to the list of supporters.
By now, you probably already realize nothing good can come out of this scheme, because there are no good intentions behind it. Republicans are supporting using Article V of the Constitution not to propose amendments to the Constitution, but to destroy the government.
On March 16, Coburn wrote at the project’s website that, “I have joined the Convention of States Project because I believe it is our last, best hope for restoring our republic. I cannot sit idly by as my grandchildren’s future is bankrupted by an irresponsible, unaccountable and unrestrained government that was originally — and brilliantly — designed to protect their liberty.”
Which is why the GOP wants to sell the federal government to the Koch brothers? We have yet to see any evidence at all that the GOP is concerned with anyone’s liberty unless that person is one of them. And we call that tyranny, in point of fact.
Calling it a “means to smite the federal Leviathan,” Tom Coburn penned an op-ed for The Washington Times on February 24, claiming that “Our national soul is being corrupted by Washington’s and unconstitutional overreach.” As a response to this overreach, Coburn wrote that,
Our Founders anticipated the federal government might get out of control at some point, and they gave us a constitutional mechanism to rein it in. It’s called a Convention of the States, outlined in Article V of the Constitution.
Article V reads,
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Coburn claimed that, “Although I am a proud conservative, this is not a partisan issue.” It is, however. The Founding Fathers distrusted government, but they came to realize that the absence of a strong central government was the greater threat to the new nation, and as a result, they gave us the United States Constitution.
And a strong central government. With the ability to tax. And to regulate. And to raise the standing army they had always feared. As Coburn said, the Founding Fathers were brilliant. They learned from their mistakes.
Coburn, being far less brilliant, seems to want to go back to the Articles of Confederation. These did not work in the immensely less complex 18th century. How they are expected to work better now amid the complexities of the modern, interconnected global marketplace, are anybody’s guess. Wishful thinking won’t get it done.
Though Coburn is no doubt right in saying that “Politicians and bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. will never voluntarily relinquish meaningful power — no matter who is elected,” that doesn’t mean a weak federal government is the answer. That fight ended in 1789 with the ratification of the Constitution.
Yet Coburn claimed in his op-ed that, “If there is one thing Americans have always agreed on it’s that government functions best when decisions are made closest to the people. Only through a Convention of States may the clear, unfettered voice of the people be heard and overreaching government be reined in.”
This is an interesting claim, given that what Republicans seem to want to offer us in place of a strong federal government that we control through elections, is a privatized corporate government that does not answer to us but to a board of electors we do not and cannot elect.
Even so, he wrote,
This is a movement whose time has come. In 26 states, citizens are working through their state legislatures to file applications to convene a Convention of States, and three others — Florida, Georgia and Alaska — have already passed the legislation necessary to move the process forward.
Coburn appeared as a guest on Focal Point yesterday and advanced the argument to the American Family Association’s official ambassador of hate, Bryan Fischer. After giving Coburn the opportunity to say nobody in Washington is interested in getting “serious about deficit reduction and control of the federal budget,” Fischer moved on to Coburn’s support for a Convention of States.
(You will have to watch the video (discussion of the Convention of States starts at the 5:09 mark) at https://vimeo.com/122672916 because its privacy settings do not allow us to embed it here)
Fischer: Let’s talk about what this convention of states would look like, what is it, what it would look like and how far along are we to seeing that happen?
Coburn: There is a constitutional way to fix our – Article V of the Constitution gives a way for the states to call a Convention of States. It’s in the constitutional convention. It’s not about a runway, its about what do you need to change to rebalance the liberty, freedom and authority the states were intended to have when the states created the federal government…They put in Article V that says 34 states or three-quarters…I mean two-thirds, decide they want to have a convention of states and they pass identical requests, then they can, nobody can stop that, and there will be a Convention of States with each state sending a delegation of whatever that state decides they want to send. And nothing comes out of that that that isn’t in the original request for the Convention of States. And the one that’s been filed in fourteen states says we request a convention of states to limit the scope, power and jurisdiction of the federal government, to create a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and to put term limits on members of congress. And anything outside of that cannot be considered.
Fischer: So this specifically would be about a balanced budget and term limits and nobody would be able to introduce anything else into that convention. So you’re saying –
Coburn: It would introduce things that would limit the power of the federal government, which would mean, does the FDA and the EPA now have the ability to tell you how long of a shower you will take in a hotel. No. We all know that, but that’s what they’re getting ready to do with their proposed ruling that came out this week. So the whole idea is the limit the scope, limit the jurisdiction, and limit the sovereignty of the federal government and restore it to what it was.
So let’s put this in perspective: Coburn is saying it’s wrong to tell people how long a shower they can take, but it’s okay to take away their health insurance and let them die. It’s okay to poison their water, air, and food, but it’s not okay to limit showers.
Coburn ended his February op-ed with the cry that, “This battle is just beginning. It’s time to rein in Washington and return power to where it rightfully belongs — with the people,” but there is no evidence that it is to the people the GOP wants to return power. They can’t, when they’ve sold their souls to the Kochs.
Rather, they want to give the power currently held by the federal government to corporations, over which, as I have pointed out, the people have no control. The people do have some control over the federal government through elections, but no American outside of a member of a board of directors, has any control over a corporation. Unless it’s the federal government through its power to regulate. A power the Convention of States Project wants to eliminate.
Then we can celebrate our new found freedom from our own power (now handed over to corporations) by drinking poisonous water, breathing poisonous air, eating contaminated food, and a complete lack of healthcare to keep us alive. Those lucky enough to die will have earned a well-deserved freedom of the grave. The survivors will be condemned to corporate serfdom under the not-so benign ownership of the Kochs and their minions.

Senate Republicans break promise on Lynch vote

by Steve Benen
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's choice to run the Justice Department, wraps up a full day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 28, 2015.At first blush, it seemed like progress yesterday when senators argued about Loretta Lynch’s pending nomination as the next Attorney General, but the headway was illusory – they were debating the wrong thing.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that the Republican majority was asking the first African-American woman ever nominated for A.G. for “sit in the back of the bus,” which led to a bitter dispute. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who expressed support for Lynch before changing his mind without explanation, took offense to the Rosa Parks analogy.
Away from the drama, however, a different realization was setting in: the Senate wrapped up its work for the week late yesterday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had given his word that the Lynch nomination would receive a vote this week, and with the announcement that there would be no more roll-call votes until next week, we now know McConnell broke his vow, making a promise he chose not to keep.
In theory, that might seem problematic, and Senate Democrats are understandably furious. But as Politico reported overnight, the Republican majority has made clear that it just doesn’t care.
“Zero,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said when asked how much pressure his party is feeling to confirm [Lynch] to the Justice Department position.
Why not? “Because there’s zero,” he reiterated.
Lynch was nominated 132 days ago. The first African-American woman ever considered for this post has waited longer for a vote than any A.G. nominee in history, and longer than the last five A.G. nominees combined. Even her fiercest critics have struggled to raise substantive objections to her qualifications, background, temperament, or judgment.
But the GOP line is, Lynch will simply be ignored, indefinitely, unless Democrats vote for an unrelated bill with anti-abortion language in it.
To be sure, Congress has fallen on hard times since 2011, but this is still an embarrassment to an institution that hardly needed yet another fiasco.
What’s more, let’s not forget that the delay is likely to continue. Next week, the Senate is likely to take up the Republican budget plan, and a week from today, the Senate leaves for a two-week break.
It seems entirely possible, if not likely, that Lynch won’t even be considered until mid-April. It’s also possible that the GOP majority may choose to permanently ignore Lynch, leaving Eric Holder in office through January 2017.
Postscript: FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten argues that Lynch is receiving “unusual” treatment, but not “unprecedented” treatment since a couple of other cabinet-level nominees have faced longer delays. That’s true, though among Attorney General nominees, Lynch is in a league of her own.

Attorney General Nominee ‘Asked to Sit in the Back of the Bus’ of Senate Calendar

Dick DurbinIt was almost inconceivable last fall, but now a highly qualified, well-respected federal prosecutor could be voted down thanks to hyper-partisan politics and grandstanding. There may be no…

Hostage Takers


Jon Stewart Calls Out Fox on Their Endless “Rage-gasm”

StewartWhen two major DOJ reports came out earlier this month, our friends at Fox pounced. The “fair and balanced” 24-hour news channel zeroed in on the report that…

Rick Perry executed a father of three after a Texas prosecutor hid evidence proving him innocent

by Sky Palma
deadstate perry
Earlier this month, the state bar of Texas filed a misconduct charge against a prosecutor obtained a conviction in one of the country’s most controversial death penalty cases, accusing him of hiding evidence that could have exonerated a father of murder.
The filing alleges that John Jackson withheld evidence that could have proved the innocence of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for the murder of his three young daughters after they died in a house fire in 1991.
“Before, during, and after the 1992 trial, [Jackson] knew of the existence of evidence that tended to negate the guilt of Willingham, and failed to disclose that evidence to defense counsel,” the charge reads.
According to the complaint, Jackson also lied to the court saying that he had no evidence that could help Willingham’s defense.
The charge also alleges that Jackson made multiple attempts to secure favorable treatment for Johnny Webb, an imprisoned informant who testified that Willingham started the fire. Jackson looked to reduce Webb’s charge from aggravated robbery to robbery as a reward for his testimony. But back in 2000, Webb recanted his testimony and admitted he lied on the witness stand so that he could get a reduced sentence.
Jackson has maintained his innocence and insists that Willingham, who was 23 at time of the incident, is guilty of committing arson.
From The Raw Story:
Despite mounting concern that Willingham was innocent, the former Texas governor Rick Perry refused to stay his execution. In 2009, after an investigation by the Texas Forensic Science Commission found that the arson evidence was faulty, Perry replaced the board’s chairman and two other members and called Willingham “a monster.”
The execution was briefly a contentious topic during Perry’s bid for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US presidential election. During a debate, Perry was asked whether the possibility of having executed an innocent person made it hard for him to sleep at night. “No, sir, I’ve never struggled with that at all,” replied Perry, now a possible Republican presidential candidate again.
Cameron Todd Willingham
While in the Texas death chamber before receiving his lethal injection, Willingham said, “The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do.”
Jackson could be disbarred when he’s found guilty.

The Affordable Cow Act Is a Real Thing in Missouri

Republicans hate Obamacare, right? And they hate Medicaid expansion even more, because God forbid the government help provide health care coverage for low-income individuals and families who can’t…