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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you. 
Just because you hate it does not make it 'hate speech' and you cannot use hate speech to lie it into 'hate speech' ...!  
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American Left Parties Declare A United Front

by Nathaniel Downes 
The left-wing in the USA has not presented a united front in decades. Long in the past are the roaring speeches of W.E.B. DuBois and Eugene V. Debs. Ever since the McCarthy era, and its blatant attack against the forces of liberty and equality in this country, labeling anything the Soviet’s were for as un-American like some variation of a Groucho Marx skit, the Left has fractured, broken apart, and while still existed in significant numbers, was so divided as to be useless.
It came as a surprise then to witness two of the more active left-wing parties, the American Party of Labor and the Party of Communists USA announced that they would work together in the future. This news, of two U.S. left-wing parties putting aside their differences, and focusing on their commonalities, made news worldwide. But domestic media was silent, having long decided that the left-wing was dead, despite its recent rise in popularity, most obvious with the election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle, WA.
In their announcement of fraternity, the united organizations extended a hand to the other left-wing organizations in this country to join them. Who, if any, will take it is as of yet unknown, but the symbology and movement to reconciliation, fraternity and unity is precisely what has been lacking for the far left in this country. As it is, the political strength of the far-left in this country is evaporated mainly in how divisive the groups are between each other. Despite having a common goal, they just have had a decades-long history of being more likely to attack each other as not.
Despite there being dozens of teabagger cabals, they ignore their differences and focus on the common factors, which is what makes them effective in the political arena despite being outnumbered by the left in this country. We need more cooperation between the left-wing, between the greens and the communists, between the socialists and the progressives. If these two organizations can come together in brotherhood, we all can.
It is a reminder of the Motto for the United States before we let the McCarthyists trample over what America stood for “E Pluribus Unum.”
Out of many, One.

And I Quote

Republicans, Here’s the Difference Between Facts vs. Faith

by Allen Clifton
Lately I’ve found myself in more and more of these debates where I’m dealing with people who seem to think “faith” is the same thing as “fact.” And recently during one of these debates with a more moderate individual who followed this flawed doctrine, I was told that we had to “agree to disagree because there’s two sides to every story and everyone is entitled to their option.”
Now, they were right that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But they couldn’t be more wrong when they said that there are two sides to every story. In the credible world, where facts matter, facts determine how many sides there are to a story. Sometimes there are two sides, sometimes there are multiple sides and often there’s really only one.
I also had another person post this comment on my Facebook page Right Off a Cliff:
If there is a debate, then there is a difference of opinion. Hence, there are always at least two sides to a debate. If everyone agrees, then there is no debate.
That’s another completely flawed belief. There are people who believe the moon landing was a hoax. So, does that make the fact that we sent humans to the moon just “a matter of opinion”?
But where I see the biggest flaws when it comes to Republicans is in their belief that what they want to be real matters more than what’s actually real. Again, like I’ve said countless times, these are the people who claim they’re voting for the party of “fiscal responsibility” when a president from their party hasn’t balanced the budget since the 1950′s. Even when you look at their “conservative icon” Ronald Reagan, he nearly tripled our national debt while in office. They treat Reagan more like a religious deity based on legend rather than a human represented by fact.
So, when I say Reagan wasn’t a “fiscal conservative,” that’s not a “matter of opinion” – that’s a fact. Because it’s indisputable that during his eight years in office we nearly tripled our national debt. And I’m not sure how anyone can be seen as “fiscally responsible” when they’ve almost tripled their debt.
Then there’s the whole issue many of us encounter when dealing with religious radicals who don’t seem to understand that having faith in something has nothing to do with fact. You see this all the time in the gay marriage debate with millions of conservatives who seem to think their faith overrides Constitutional law. That something they believe – yet can’t prove – matters more than the rights of American citizens. These are people who seem to think their rights are being violated because they can’t deny someone else theirs.
The fact is that our Constitution doesn’t have a single reference to Christianity anywhere in it. And it’s clear, via our First Amendment, that every American is given the freedom of (or from) religion. So, in the debate over same-sex marriage - there is no debate. There’s no “two sides” to that story. There’s fact and there’s the delusional reality some wished existed.
It’s the same thing with climate change and those who seem to believe God controls the weather. That’s a claim I always find interesting because those same people can’t explain to me why, if God controls the weather, don’t we ever get winter when it should be summer and visa versa. But where science can predict weather patterns, forecasts and all sorts of other useful data, faith cannot.
So, until we can start to predict our climate or our weather patterns based upon the Bible, or some other form of religious text, science is the only “side” to that argument.
Abortion is another example. While there is a legitimate debate over when life technically begins, there isn’t a debate over whether or not women have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. Our Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade settled that debate decades ago. So, when a Republican says the “abortion debate,” what they really mean is their opinion based on their own personal feelings and faith as opposed to legal precedent and factual reality.
Though I doubt any of these examples will have any impact on the way any Republican thinks about anything. I’m sure the typical conservative response will be to dismiss everything I’ve said, then regurgitate some right-wing talking point they’ve been fed by Fox News.
But to summarize: No, there’s not “always two sides” to a debate. If someone is just flat-out wrong, you don’t have to “respect their opinion” – because facts aren’t opinions.
They. Are. Facts.
And as the saying goes, the great thing about facts is that they’re real whether or not someone wants to believe in them.

Boehner Outs Himself As He Calls Obama An 'Anti-War' President

by Leslie Salzillo
“The world is starving for American leadership. But America has an anti-war president,” Boehner said during a Capitol Hill press conference.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.Yes, by labeling Barack Obama an 'anti-war' president, our House Speaker John Boehner admits he wants war, he's good with it, he's DOWN with it. Let's get this party started! Because the Iraq war, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and approximately 5,000 American troops - wasn't enough. No, let's send out more of our young men and women into battle to kill and be killed. It's what we do! We'll show those terrorists. We'll show the world who's boss, just like Bush did with his inglorious 'War on Terror.' What a deciding victory that was. I'm ashamed and disgusted (and still somewhat befuddled) that John Boehner is considered a leader in our American government. He could easily eat my lunch every day, if I let him. But that won't happen, because I know in the Oval Office we have a strong, intelligent, compassionate, and humble leader, a man who ultimately strives for peace. And I can sleep most nights, unlike the eight years prior, when I'd lay awake feeling helpless and angry, wondering how many people would die - how many more children would be taken from this earth the next day, all to satisfy the insatiable ego of our last president and the sociopathic greed of his vice-president. I can sleep a little better knowing this president respects human lives. This president is not vying for bloody combat. This president is 'anti-war.'
Thank you, John Boehner, for once again showing your true colors while lifting President Obama up higher in the eyes of the world. You continue to help him without even trying, and that is surely the last thing you want to accomplish. You are a fool who can't come to grips with the fact that President Barack Obama will be remembered for centuries, while you will be remembered for, well… you probably won't be remembered at all.

Republican Secret Love For Obamacare Exposed As Lawmakers Choose ACA Over Private Market

tim-tedRepublicans love the private market and hate “welfare”. Amiright?
That is, unless they are the ones getting the subsidies, or “welfare” as they call it when poor people with dark skin take it.
Hypocritical Republican lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) could have gone for a “private market” solution, but instead they chose to let you subsidize their healthcare via President Obama’s healthcare law. Lindsay Wise of the McClatchy Washington Bureau broke this down in Kentucky .Com as it pertained to the Chairman of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Yup, he has also chosen to sign up for President Obama’s healthcare law:
Asked whether he sees any contradiction between his outspoken opposition to Obamacare and his family’s enrollment, Huelskamp said in a written statement that the law forces members of Congress to sign up.
Like millions of other American families, he said, “we object to this expensive, liberty-attacking mandate.”
It’s true that members of Congress who want to take advantage of health benefits offered through their employer – the federal government – must use plans offered through a government-run exchange in the District of Columbia.
But that’s not the whole story.
Huelskamp could have foregone coverage completely, or shunned the exchange and purchased a family health plan directly from a private broker.
So, Cruz and Huelskamp could have gone private market or gone without, which is almost like being “forced” to sign up but not at all. Wise linked to a CNN article as proof.
It was big news when Ted Cruz signed up for President Obama’s healthcare law after he shut down the entire government in a fit over… Obamacare.
But apparently while Cruz was “principled” enough to waste 24 billion dollars plus of your money shutting down the government in hopes that he could defund the healthcare law, he is not “principled” enough to reject Obamacare and the subsidies lawmakers get if they use it.
Yes, it’s true. Cruz could have gone for a “private market” solution – you know, the thing Republicans are always trying to shove onto you? Yes, well, it’s not good enough for Ted Cruz.
Going without affordable healthcare was good enough for poor Americans, according to Republicans. It was GOP No Care for “liberty”, according to them. So why isn’t it good enough for them? Surely they have no qualms about paying their own way, picking themselves up by their bootstraps. Why would they force the America taxpayer to subsidize their insurance if they think that’s such a bad system?
It was hypocritical when Cruz signed up for Obamacare. But now it’s gone way beyond hypocrisy. Cruz and Huelskamp are actually endorsing Obamacare as the best alternative, even above the private market options. That’s worth noting, because it’s like saying they don’t believe in living the principles that they preach are best for the country.
It turns out that Ted Cruz is only principled when he’s spending your money and taking insurance away from you. But when it comes to his family, well, that’s another story. Same with Tea Party champion Huelskamp.
Cruz tried to worm his way out of his entire raison d’être by claiming he was only objecting to the job killing part of Obamacare. Of course, that’s a Republican “belief” and not reality. If he isn’t aware of the stats yet, Cruz might want to take a gander at 2014, during which we had the best job growth since 1999. But, all is not lost. Cruz can thank himself for shaving “0.6 percent off the nation’s economic growth” with his shutdown, according to a Standard & Poor’s analysis.
That’s a “no” to the GOP notion of fiscal responsibility that Republicans have been using to justify letting Americans die due to lack of access to affordable healthcare, in case you were wondering. Yeah, it sucks that your families are dying but PRINCIPLES! This is the same notion that Republicans felt so strongly about it was worth shutting down the government. And that’s not even delving into the violent ugliness of Republican behavior in 2010 and 2011.
When it comes down to it, Cruz and Huelskamp would rather have your tax dollars fund them using Obamacare than use the private market. Getting screwed by the “private market” (and it must be or else why aren’t these lawmakers using it?) is for y’all, not for the privileged. And this explains why Ted Cruz is running for president on the idea of repealing Obamacare. After all, you will always be paying for his health insurance, so he’s all set.

Wrong Labels

CNN Exposes The Fact That Ted Cruz Is Unqualified To Be President Of The United States

Ted Cruz (R-TX) stumbled and fumbled when confronted with his lack of qualifications to be president by CNN.
Ted Cruz CNN State Of The UnionBASH: You talk about sticking to principles and defending principles. Obviously that is your calling card. But if you were to achieve the next level, the presidency of the United States, you have to get beyond that and you have to really learn how to compromise.

Give me an example where you have successfully compromised in the United States Senate with Democrats.

CRUZ: Well, if you look at some of the legislation that has passed — that I’ve been able to pass when I was there, for example, if you look to about a year ago when Iran named Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador to the U. N., he was a known terrorist, he had participated in holding Americans hostage, and that was intended to be and was in fact a slap in the face to the United States.
I introduced legislation barring Aboutalebi from being admitted to this country. And it had earned the support from senators as varied as Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer. It passed the Senate 100 to nothing. It went to the House. It passed the House 435 to nothing, and president Obama signed it into law. And so we were able to get unanimity, bipartisan agreement and to change the law to keep Aboutalebi and keep other known terrorists from coming to this country from being in New York City with diplomatic immunity.
BASH: But you yourself made the point. I mean, 100 to nothing it has got to be something incredibly noncontroversial.
CRUZ: Well but – it doesn’t mean unimportant. I’ll give you another example of leading and finding issues that can bring —
BASH: Because I believe that might be the only legislation that you have your name on as a co-sponsor that was successful in the legislature.
CRUZ: Well, I’ll give you another example which is — you’ll recall last year when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas. And I joined with New Jersey senator, Democrat Bob Menendez in introducing legislation to provide for a $5 million reward in the state department for information leading to the capture of the terrorist who kidnapped and murdered Naftali Fraenkel who was a dual American-Israeli citizen.
Now, Bob Menendez and I did that together. That, likewise, passed the Senate 100 to nothing. It would have passed the House but thankfully they caught the terrorist before the House passed it.
And in fact I’ll point to another example, which is I joined with New York Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, in passing a resolution through the Senate condemning Hamas’ use of human shields. Again, we got it unanimously passed —
BASH: But it’s fair that there’s just one piece of legislation that is now law with your name on it.

CRUZ: Well, that’s accurate, but — look, in the Harry Reid Senate we passed next to nothing. Harry Reid and the Democrats basically shut down the Senate. And I can tell you the two things that I have passed the Senate, the two pieces of legislation that passed the Senate are more than all but a handful of Republicans in the last two years and that was despite Senate Democrats basically shutting the Senate down so that almost nothing could pass.
Cruz tried to justify his lack of accomplishment by rewriting President Obama’s biography to elimate the time that he spent as a state senator. In Cruz’s revised Obama bio, the president went from being a community organizer to occupying the White House.
Dana Bash did an effective job of questioning Cruz about his weak spots, and the Texas Senator’s defense consisted of blaming Senate Democrats and lying about President Obama. Ted Cruz isn’t qualified to be president. Cruz is running what is amounting to a vanity campaign that is centering on advancing his own celebrity. Cruz isn’t as qualified as Obama was before he ran for president, and CNN isn’t playing along with inflating a 2016 pretender to the status of a legitimate candidate.

Ted Cruz Whines Because Too Many Americans Support the Constitution

by Allen Clifton
Whenever the subject of religion and our Constitution is brought up, it never ceases to amaze me how ridiculous many of these evangelical christians can get. Even though our First Amendment clearly states that our government cannot base laws on religion, and our Constitution lacks even a single mention of christianity, millions of Americans still believe that this nation was founded on Christianity. Let’s look at this logically, shall we? Imagine for a moment that some of these super-religious Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee were tasked with writing the Constitution. Who thinks that these people would have written our original Constitution without a single mention of Jesus Christ, God, the Bible or anything at all related to christianity? There’s no way that happens. In fact, religious references wouldn’t just be included, they would be heavily featured.
It’s like I’ve said before, the lack of any mention of christianity in our Constitution wasn’t an accident – it was by design.
Well, newly minted Republican pretender candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) is apparently quite bothered with the fact that more and more Americans continue to embrace our Constitution rather than the theocracy individuals like him want to create.
“This country remains a country, I believe, grounded in values, grounded in faith, but far too many Christians have ceded the public arena to people who aren’t believers,” Cruz said.
A separation of ult and state is one of the pillars of what has made this country great. Just because someone supports keeping the two separate doesn’t make them anti-christian. Hell, I’m a christian and I’m a huge advocate for keeping religion completely out of government.
“We’re to be watchmen on the wall, and I believe that there are pastors, there are leaders in the faith community all across this country who were placed in the positions of leadership that they are in today just like Esther [figure from the bible], for such a time as this,” he said. “That is my hope, that we will energize and mobilize courageous wingnuts all over this country to pull this country back.”
In other words, he’s upset that the majority of Americans support the fact that our Constitution clearly establishes how our laws are not to be based on religion, and he’s hoping that he can energize more Americans to support his unconstitutional push to base our laws on his version of christianity.
That’s really what this all boils down to; it’s Americans who support the Constitutionally supported separation of church and state having to put up with those who want to turn the United States into a theocracy, ruled by evangelical interpretations of christianity.
But I always go back to the question I ask every single person who shares Cruz’s beliefs: Can you show me a single reference to christianity, jesus christ, dog or the bible in our Constitution?
Obviously it’s a rhetorical question and I already know the answer: There’s not a single reference to any of them – the Founding Fathers left them out of our Constitution by design.

Koch Suckers

Nothing more need be said ...

Louie Gohmert Is Crazy

Louie Gohmert speaks to Fox News host  Arthel Neville (screen grab)  
You know it's bad when the mentally ill hacks at Fox think you're crazy

This is a Key Point

(The wingnut movement)
"To understand Cruz's role in 2016, one must recognize that the Tea Party in Washington today is a not an insurgency from below. It is a realignment within the Republican establishment that has committed the party to a position of extreme non-compromise."

Rich people complain that they are losing influence in national politics

To be more precise, the merely rich are losing influence to the super-rich.The Washington Post focuses on the lost influence of the "bundlers":
Bundlers who used to carry platinum status have been downgraded, forced to temporarily watch the money race from the sidelines. They’ve been eclipsed by the uber-wealthy, who can dash off a seven-figure check to a super PAC without blinking...
But there is a palpable angst among mid-level fundraisers and donors that their rank has been permanently downgraded. One longtime bundler recently fielded a call from a dispirited executive on his yacht, who complained, “We just don’t count anymore.”
We should clarify that the "bundlers" are not necessarily millionaires, but that millionaires are encountering the same problem.
Their response - to focus more on buying Congressmen rather than a president:
Other bundlers, on the left and the right, are turning their attention to congressional races, where they can get more personal attention.
“Senate candidates will call asking for $2,700, and they are eager to talk,” said David Rosen, a longtime Democratic fundraiser. “When they come to town, they’ll meet with you one-on-one. But $2,700 won’t even get you a parking spot at a super PAC event.”

Lindsey Graham Tried Defending The 1% And He Failed – Badly

Lindsey Graham Tried Defending The 1% And He Failed – Badly After Mitt Romney’s disastrous run for president in 2012, instead of running directly toward the 1%, Republicans have been doing a waltz. On one...

Senate Update

Seattle mayor bans city-funded travel to Indiana following passage of anti-gay legislation

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (Seattle.gov)
“I’m not doing this because I’m a gay man,” he explained. “You cannot say, ‘You can’t come into my restaurant because you’re black and it’s my religious belief not to serve you.’ That is a settled question.”

Indiana Restaurant Already Bragging About Discriminating Against Gay People Following ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill

Indiana Restaurant Already Bragging About Discriminating Against Gay People Following ‘Religious Liberty’ BillIt’s been just days since Indiana signed its “religious liberty” bill and already the first case of discrimination against gay people has emerged.

Indiana Governor mad at Left’s intolerance of intolerance & won’t say if law discriminate against gays

by Egberto Willies

Mike Pence upset about intolerance of his new law’s intolerance

Mike Pence appeared on ABC’s ThisWeek to defend and clarify his new Indiana law that allows businesses to discriminate against gays and others. Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) signed the bill into law last week. The governor has been under attack from every sector.
George Stephanopoulos pointed out that one of the governor’s supporters, Eric Miller of Advance America, wrote the following.
christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!
“This is a yes or no question,” Stephanopoulos said. “Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment?”
The Governor immediately went into spinning and non-answering mode. He said the purpose of the legislation is to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers. He attempted to spin that President Obama signed similar bills in Illinois which of course is a false equivalence since Illinois Civil Rights laws protects against discrimination of gays.
Stephanopoulos tried to pin the governor down several times. He asked the same question requesting a yes or no answer on the specific case of a florist. The governor simply would not answer.
The governor actually implied that the Left was being intolerant of the intolerance the law represents. “The issue here,” Mike Pence said. “Is tolerance a two way street or not. I mean there is a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the Left.” The governor and his ilk refuse to be cognizant of the fact that being gay is not a Left, Right, Republican, or Democratic thing. Gays are in every strata of our society.
In the end the governor states that the law will not be changed. He may sign clarifying language but the law stays as is.


Just how many elected officials are there in the United States?

The answer is mind-blowing
by David Nir
Freshmen members of the 114th Congress pose for a class photo (Jan. 2015)

These freshmen members of the 114th Congress are just the tip of the electoral iceberg
At a recent company retreat, a colleague and I were nerding out (as is our wont) and debating a question: Just how many elected officials are there in the United States in total? It's an easy question to start answering—you begin with the president and vice president (two), plus Congress (535), then move on to governors (another 50). And if you're a real elections junkie, you may be aware that there are around 7,000 state legislators nationwide. But that barely scratches the surface. There are over 3,000 counties and more than 19,000 cities and towns ... and almost every one of those has some form of elected government, including county executives, county councils, mayors, and city councils. That still scarcely covers it, though, because that doesn't include things like judges, school boards, water boards, mosquito control boards (!)—hell, even coroner is an elected position in some places. And in Duxbury, Vermont, they actually elect, yes, the dog catcher.
Once you really start counting, the numbers get very big very quickly. And amazingly, someone actually has tried counting: government Prof. Jennifer Lawless, who assembled the remarkable table below in her 2012 book Becoming a Candidate:
Chart from Jennifer Lawless' book
Check out that number in the bottom right-hand corner: over half a million! That means more than one out of every thousand people in this country is an elected official of one sort or another. So there's a decent chance you personally know at least one—or maybe you even are one yourself—though as Lawless points out, most of these positions "pay only a token salary and meet on a limited basis," so the vast majority of these officials have other full-time jobs. (Note: Lawless' number of "statewide elected offices" appears to contain a typo; it should probably be more like 1,000. That still doesn't affect the bottom-line number very much, though. Hardcore election junkies may also recall that Lawless once ran for office herself, losing a 2006 primary challenge to Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin in Rhode Island's 2nd District by a 62-38 margin.)
Hold on, though, because there's even more. One category Lawless leaves out (not unreasonably) are party officials, who in many states are often elected on primary ballots, alongside candidates for regular office. For instance, in Louisiana, voters elect representatives to the Democratic State Central Committee; New York has something similar called district leaders. How many of these folks are there? We haven't found a tally anywhere, but the answer is undoubtedly "a lot"—enough to swell that 500,000-plus figure by a fair bit, for sure.
That monstrous number, whatever it may be exactly, prompts some questions of its own, though. For starters, do we have too many elections and elected offices in this country? Surely jobs like judge and coroner should be appointed positions, but beyond that, do we really need so many overlapping layers of government?
But since there are so many opportunities to get elected to office, why do so many people insist on starting for the first time at the highest levels, like state legislature or Congress? Those (relatively) plum posts are just the tip of the elective iceberg and are thus very difficult to win. If you're considering running for office as a new candidate, there are literally hundreds of thousands of other ways to gain a foothold, build up your experience, and serve your community.
And for progressives in particular, especially if you live in a red area, this is how we build our power—not by sending our rookies to wage long-shot bids for top-shelf positions but by bulking up our bench in every nook and cranny of the electoral world. Rep. Mike Honda, a vocal progressive this community supported in his re-election bid last year, started his career as a school board member, for instance. The next Mike Honda is waiting out there, and she may even be reading this post.