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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you ...!  
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Michelle Obama Just Made Groundbreaking Remarks On Native American Struggles

Image via FlickrSo given this history, we shouldn’t be surprised at the challenges that kids in Indian Country are facing today. And we should never forget that we played a role in this. Make no mistake about it – we own this.

Call'em What They Are ...

Democrats Mock the First 100 Days of Fail of the Boehner and McConnell Led Congress

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell
Republicans really shouldn’t make this so easy for Democrats. Just as Boehner has become synonymous with fail, to the degree that even the beltway admits regularly that he can’t get done or won’t get done what he says he will or what he needs to do for the party, now the entire Congress is infested with the stench of GOP fail.
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office sent out a memo Sunday morning mocking Republicans for the fail.
You have to see the entire memo to get the full sense of fail, from an uprising against establishment leaders to fails on immigration with calls for mass deportation to catering to the 1% and pretending it makes sense and is good for Main Street to being unable to fund the DHS for weeks even as terrorist attacks made the headlines, it is not a recommendation for Republican leadership.
Here you go:
Last week marked the first 100 days since the start of the 114th Republican Congress.  What have Americans seen from Speaker Boehner and House Republicans?  Let’s go through a headlines recap of the past 10 legislative weeks.
  • Washington Post- John Boehner just endured the biggest revolt against a House speaker in more than 150 years 
·         New York Times - House Republicans Change Rules on Calculating Economic Impact of Bills
  • MSNBC- House GOP goes on the record for mass deportation
  • CBS News- ​House GOP abruptly drops plans to debate abortion bill after backlash
  • Huffington Post- GOP Quietly Giving Committee Chairmen Unilateral Subpoena Power
  • VOX- GOP Rep. Mo Brooks says maybe you should blame immigrants for measles
  • POLITICO- Boehner: No clear idea how McConnell will resolve DHS standoff
  • Slate- House and Senate Republicans Blame Each Other for Screwing Up GOP Legislative Greatness
  • The Hill- The terrible, horrible, no good start for GOP
  • Washington PostNo House Republican leaders are going to Selma this weekend. That’s a dumb move.
  • Washington Post- Error in House budget understated spending cuts by $900 million
  • Washington Post- House Republicans want to cut back grants for poor college students
  • Huffington Post- Divided House GOP Prevents Embarrassment, Passes Budget Boosting Defense Spending
Also last week, House Republicans twice voted to block equal pay for equal work and passed a ”massive tax break for millionaires, billionaires.”   Stay tuned for more – their obstruction, dysfunction and distraction is bound to intensify.
What’s happened to the Republican Party is it no longer stands for the things it is supposed to stand for, and that is really why it’s become a hot mess as seen above. While catering to lunatics and fringers in order to get votes, the real agenda of the party is to serve the top 1%. They have to mask this purpose in order to peel off the misinformed and the uninformed, but it creates internal chaos to have an agenda that is vastly different from what your base thinks you stand for.
This is not the party of personal responsibility and it can’t be defended any longer. It is not even the party of the wealthy and educated who feel they make better decisions for the masses, a position that can be legitimately defended even if you don’t agree with it. No, this is the party of raging deficits because they can’t tax big business at all, but they preach about deficits being bad. This is the party of “liberty” and “freedom” that actively works to take freedom and liberty away from many minorities, including deliberately working to undermine minority voting rights because, in general, minorities are on to them.
This record of fail doesn’t bode well for Republicans in 2016. How can they make the case that they can lead? Perhaps they will do it as they always do– giving them the Senate wasn’t enough, they really need the White House in order to accomplish anything. Like John McCain promising to tell us where Bin Laden after we elected him. This has been their go-to line for a while now.
But the truth is always in the policy.
And policy wise, the Republican Party has pushed for things to cater to the fringers and passed things to serve their 1% masters. Fringers and puppet masters. That is what has become of the party that used to stand for personal responsibility and fiscal conservatism.
It is now left to the Democrats to demonstrate the kind of fiscal restraint and responsibility that they are not known for, but have actually been practicing for a while. No, they aren’t trying to drown government and starve the poor, so they are not turning into actual conservatives, but in terms of fiscal responsibility, their budgets tend to add up and they aren’t pretending that math isn’t a thing. They try to pay as they go, even when it means admitting uncomfortable political positions of raising taxes, albeit on the wealthy — a position that is popular, but costly in terms of dark money spent against them in elections.
Democrats have become the party of grown ups. That’s what this memo represents, and it matters.

Bernie Sanders Storms Sunday Morning And Drops A Liberal Bomb On Fox News

bernie sanders on fox news sunday
The Republican-dominated Sunday morning shows got a blast of liberalism as Bernie Sanders stormed Fox News Sunday and showed the conservative Fox viewers what liberalism really looks like.
Host Chris Wallace tried to use Senator Sanders to attack Clinton, but the Vermont senator turned his question towards a discussion of the billionaires and Citizens United. Sanders said, “My point is it’s not just Hillary Clinton….Well, the answer is that I think that is the fight we have to wage if we are going to save the middle-class, and I do have doubts about whether Hillary Clinton or any Republican candidate out there is willing to take on the big money interest who control so much of our economy, and as a result of Citizens United, so much of our political process as well.”
Sanders added, “But what we need to do, Chris is to understand that in America if we’re going to be successful in taking on the billionaire class, we need a strong national grassroots movement, and what the Secretary will have to convince the American people is in fact based on her past record and her views today that she is in fact going to break up the major banks on Wall Street. That she is going to ask the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. That she’s going to end the abomination of major corporations making billions of dollars, stashing their money in the Cayman Islands and not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. That in fact she is prepared to deal with our disastrous trade policies.”
Host Chris Wallace tried to divide Sanders and Clinton on the TPP, but Sanders talked about how trade agreements don’t create jobs and have driven wages down, “I think we don’t need to be sending more jobs to low-wage countries. I think corporate America has got to start investing in this country, and create decent paying jobs here.”
Sanders turned around a question about Vermont dropping their idea for single payer into a discussion of the dysfunctional U.S. health care system.
Sensing that some of the common sense ideas of Senator Sanders might be popular with their audience, Fox News Sunday tried to poison the well by inaccurately suggesting that Sanders wanted a fifteen percent cut in military spending. The Vermont senator responded by highlighting the need to eliminate excess and waste in the budget.
Fox News Sunday viewers got a dose of the real face of liberalism, which was much different from the bastardized and demonized version of the left that Roger Ailes markets to his 2 million or so viewers every day.
Fox News Sunday hosted Sen. Sanders because they are trying to create conflict and divide on the left, but they got for their efforts was a healthy dose of the populism that Republicans despise with a passion. Bernie Sanders will not be the tip of the media’s spear against Hillary Clinton, and Fox News Sunday’s plan to create divide and discord was blown to shreds by Senator Sanders.

The Truth Be Told

Cashin' In Crew Attacks CEO Who Upped Workers' Pay To $70K A Year

Cashin' In Crew Attacks CEO Who Upped Workers' Pay To $70K A Year
The shrieking heads on Fox were doing their best to look out for the 1 percent once again.
Cashin' In Crew Attacks CEO Who Upped Workers' Pay To $70K A Year

Paul Ryan's immoral act requires a response

It is hard to believe that Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his ilk would be so blatant in showing that their main purpose in Congress is to serve the wealthy. This is neither hyperbole nor an exaggeration. Matt O'Brien in the Washington Post says it best:
A specter is haunting America's super-rich - the specter of progressive taxation.
Don't worry, though, the Republican Party is manning the barricades against this menace. That's been true for the last 35 years, and it's no less so now. Indeed, the Paul Ryan-led House Ways and Means Committee just symbolically voted to end the estate tax entirely. In other words, to stand in solidarity with the heirs of the top 0.2 percent.
That's how many households pay the estate tax now: 2 out of 1,000. Why so low? Well, the first $5.43 million that an individual or $10.86 million that a couple leaves behind isn't taxed when they pass away. The estate tax, with its 40 percent top rate, only kicks in for anything more than that. And even then, creative accountants and big deductions can shield a lot of the rest from Uncle Sam. So it's important to remember that there's a difference between the top marginal tax rate and the effective tax rate that estates pay. Since the super-rich only owe the estate tax on some of what they own, they actually pay, on average, 16.6 percent of the value of their estate.
Here is the thing: According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the estate tax repeal would cost $269 billion in reduced revenues between fiscal 2016 and 2025. If one counts the incurred interest on the debt from the deficit it would create, the figure jumps to $320 billion. Worse, the estate tax repeal affects only 0.2 percent of Americans-in other words, 99.8 percent of Americans get no benefit from said tax cut because they could not possibly inherit, or receive income and capital they did not work for, that would qualify for the estate tax repeal.

Scott Walker Talks Up GOP Common Sense While Proving He Has None in NH Speech

Walker throws facts and history to the wind as he talks up a fantasy GOP with common sense that nowhere exists and has no chance of existing…
Scott-Walker-NHAfter being booted to a smaller room at the Republican Leadership Summit at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, Scott Walker talked about how Republican common-sense can fix everything in Washington, that “there is no end to how much better things can be” with “common-sense” GOP leadership in the Capitol.
Yes, Walker throws facts and history to the wind as he talks up a fantasy GOP with common sense that nowhere exists, and furthermore, has no chance of existing.
“If you put common-sense Republican, conservative leadership in place, if that team works together, there is no end to the good things that can happen. If we do that in Washington — with a Republican House, Senate, and president — there is no end to how much better things can be.”
He says that while the GOP controls two-thirds of the federal government – the legislative and the judicial. This is a GOP that has, since 2009, made nothing but bad decisions when they can be bothered to make any decisions at all.
Not enough for you?
Then remember that it was Republican common sense that got us into two un-funded wars, destroyed the world economy, and paved the way for the rise of ISIL in the ruins of Iraq, and country Republican common sense destroyed.
Remember the last time Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the presidency, back in 2005-2006 (The 109th Congress): We had George W. Bush as President, Dennis Hastert as Speaker of the House, and Ted Stevens as Senate President pro tem.
Things were far from better in 2005-2006, and were well on the way to getting much worse.
Yet, ignoring the lessons of history both national and local, Walker cited among his own Bush-like accomplishments, destroying Wisconsin’s economy, attacking workers’ rights, and putting women’s health at risk because “We no longer fund Planned Parenthood.”
Walker bragged that, “I got together in the capital with all the Republicans, those in office and the newly-elected,” and “I said, ‘It is put up or shut up.'”
He did neither. He neither put up any accomplishments nor shut up about lying about it, as you can see:
I said: ‘We need to go big and bold. We need to show we are different than the party we replaced.’ I don’t think anybody would doubt that we went big and bold.
The reason it sustained us during the attacks and protests because we knew it was because of my sons,” Walker said, referring to his two now-adult sons, Matthew and Alex. “All the others of their generation. Sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. We knew it was not acceptable to have a state that was better than the one we inherited.
It was not just about taking on protests. We had to bring together Republicans in both houses. Sometimes, there are people who like the status quo, even in our own party. They don’t want to change things.
We had to make the case for why reform was necessary.
Which is no doubt why, while he is popular with NH Republicans, he is losing to Hillary in his own state by a margin of 52-40.
The guy who has massive school layoffs, healthcare, food stamp cuts populating his Koch budget, claimed,
When we not only grow the economy, but put people into better jobs and raise wages, we put ourselves in a position where we lower the deficit problem by raising the amount of revenue — not by higher rates but by spreading the volume.
Raise wages? To what? Scott Walker says $7.25/hour is a living wage. Does he plan to ante up an extra nickel?
Walker proved his policy platform is anchored solidly not on actual ideas of his own, but opposition to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, claiming that “Americans need to realize that. This isn’t a third term of Bill Clinton. This is a third term of Barack Obama.”
When I think about the president and people like Hillary Clinton, they seem to measure success in government by how many people who are on Medicaid and food stamps and unemployment.
We should measure success on the opposite: by people who are no longer dependent on the government. Freedom and prosperity do not come from the mighty hand of the government. It comes from allowing people to live their own lives and control her own destiny through the dignity that is born of work.
Because being paid a pittance, lacking healthcare, losing your home, your car, and starving with your family is so dignified. Republican ideas about dignity are as bizarre as their ideas of religious freedom.
And of course, Walker, who has said if he can defeat a bunch of peaceful labor unions protesting against having their rights illegally taken away that he can defeat a bunch of heavily armed terrorists like ISIL, and who compared ISIL to a computer virus, who dodged questions about how HE would defeat ISIL, attacked Obama’s foreign policy, which in a round-about way amounts to an endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy:
It is so frustrating to think that we have a president that a couple of years ago drew a line in the sand — and a lot of people crossed it. We have a president that called ISIS just a year ago the JV squad. But called Yemen a success story and Iran as someone that we can do business with.
I guess this means tough old, common-sense Scott Walker would fight himself a couple of he-man wars to destroy parts of the world missed by earlier Republican wars. Iran beckons. And Syria. The man who dropped out of college can demonstrate his GOP bona fides by laying waste to vast swathes of real estate and killing thousands of people no Republican cares about in the process.
This is something that will no doubt endear him to the un-thinking Republican base. It will be a much harder sell to people who disagree with his statement that,
“We are not going to wait until they bring the fight to us. We are going to fight on their soil and not ours.”
Because thinking people realize we have invaded enough countries for a while. That more unfunded wars are maybe not good ideas; that maybe more young Americans don’t have to give their lives to prove how tough chickenhawks like Scott Walker are.
After all, he’s not going to take a bullet for his beliefs. But he fully expects you to, or your sons and daughters, or your mom or dad.
That’s the Republican way. And that’s why if they handed out rooms based on a grasp of real-world facts and common sense, Scott Walker would barely rate a broom closet for his next speech.

Scott Walker Once Touted Work Pushing For Tighter Gun Laws

When he was in the Wisconsin state assembly, Scott Walker (R), who's poised to jump into the 2016 pretender race, highlighted his support for "tightening gun laws" for certain felons, according to Buzzfeed.

Marco Rubio Melts Down Into A Puddle Of Science Denying Bigotry On Face The Nation

In a matter of a few minutes, Marco Rubio went from touting his young and fresh ideas to melting into a pile science denying, warmongering, bigotry on CBS’s Face The Nation.
marco rubio face the nationSCHIEFFER: When we sat down with Marco Rubio at the Manchester Community College, he had choice words on Hillary Clinton, said, flatly, we may have to go to war with the Iranians to stop them from building a nuclear weapon. And he talked candidly about deciding to run against his friend and mentor Jeb Bush.
We started with a simple question. Why do you want to be pretender?
RUBIO: I believe the country is living a historic moment. It’s transitioning into this post-industrial era, an era of extraordinary opportunity.
Our ideas are now allowing our nation to fulfill its potential in this new century. I believe I have the ideas for the country. I believe I have the vision for the country. I believe I am positioned to help lead this country to this new American century.
I think the 21st century is going to be better than the 20th century. But there’s some things we are going to have to do to make that happen.
SCHIEFFER: You said the other day that this election presents a generational choice about what kind of country we’re going to be. Didn’t we just do that?
RUBIO: Well, we — I think Obama campaigned on some of those themes. Unfortunately, his ideas don’t help achieve it. It’s not just enough to have new ideas. They have to be good ideas.
After not really answering the question about why he wants to be president, Rubio gave voters a sample of his “new ideas.”
Here’s Rubio on climate change, “I believe climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing. The question is, what percentage of that or what is due to human activity? If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climates change vs. how much will it cost to our economy? Scientists can’t tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes. But I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy.”
Later, Rubio talked about same-sex marriage, “Well, first, it’s not that I’m against gay marriage. I believe the definition of the institution of marriage should be between one man and one woman….And I don’t believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.”
Rubio also told Bob Schieffer that war with Iran is on the table, “If you cross this threshold, you will face military action on the part of the United States. We don’t want that to happen. But the risk of a nuclear Iran is so great that that option must be on the table.”
Rubio’s fresh new Republican ideas for the 21st Century involve discriminating against gays, denying the science behind climate change and war with Iran. The self-described young and fresh Republican is carrying around the same old and tired Republican ideas.
Rubio went from touting himself as the fresh young Republican leader for a new century to expressing your senior citizen Fox News watching neighbor’s views on gay marriage and climate change. As soon as Rubio left behind his campaign slogans, what was revealed was more of the same.
Marco Rubio’s young and fresh campaign can’t hide the musty smell of its old and unpopular Republican ideas.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Slams Climate Change-Denying Politicians, Says They’re Ending The Age Of Information

Neil deGrasse Tyson Slams Climate Change-Denying Politicians, Says They’re Ending The Age Of Information“The moment the politicians start saying they are in denial of what the scientists are telling them… that is the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.”

Hilarious Video Reveals 56% Of Congress GOPers Suffer ‘Climate Change Denial Disorder’

Featured photo: Composite with screen grabs via Funny or Die's Climate Change Denial Disorder video.Hilarious video: 170 Republicans in the House and Senate suffer ‘Climate Change Denial Disorder.’ Is yours one of them?

The Truth Hurts

Biggest Wingnut Fear Regarding Equality?

Biggest Right-Wing Fear Regarding Equality? Losing Their SupremacyLosing Their 'Supremacy'
Some people just need to feel they’re superior… especially if the only going for them is being a straight, white christian.

White Lady Fights Cops While Stealing Black People’s American Flag: No Arrest

White Lady Fights Cops While Stealing Black People’s American Flag: No Arrest (VIDEO)An enraged wingnut attempted to steal an American flag from African-American protesters and fought with police, but was not arrested…at a demonstration regarding white privilege.

Top Engine Manufacturer to Homophobic Repair Shop: Stop Using Our Logo

homophobic shop dude
One of the biggest engine manufacturers in the business is taking a stand against the anti-gay diesel repair …

Wall Street has gobbled up billions of New York City pension dollars

Wall Street, not retired workers, has been getting the profits from New York City's pension funds, according to the city comptroller's office. Management fees have sucked up more than $2 billion over 10 years, virtually erasing gains for the funds that provide pensions for 715,000 city workers:
Most of the funds' money - more than 80 percent - is invested in plain vanilla assets like domestic and foreign stocks and bonds. The returns on those investments are generally reported after the fees, which are usually paid as a percent of the assets each firm manages.
Over the last 10 years, the return on those "public asset classes" has surpassed expectations by more than $2 billion, according to the comptroller's analysis. But nearly all of that extra gain - about 97 percent - has been eaten up by management fees, leaving just $40 million for the retirees, it found.
In the "private asset classes," fees have been an even bigger drag on returns, Mr. Stringer said. To figure out just how big was not easy, he said.
But you know what we're told again and again: It's those greedy public workers who expect to have pensions when they retire-they're the problem when pension funds fall short. Not the Wall Street fees or the states, like Chris Christie's New Jersey, that haven't contributed their share to pension funds and have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in management fees.
It may have taken New York City a little too long to get to the point of saying "hey, wait a minute-Wall Street is getting too much of our workers' pensions," but good for Comptroller Scott Stringer for getting there and going public. Now he has to follow through.

Are Ammosexuals Actually Suffering From Paranoia?

Are Ammosexuals Actually Suffering From Paranoia? All Symptoms Point To Yes Firstly, this is not to at all make light of the seriousness of Paranoid Personality Disorder; it is very real and many likely don’t realize they...

Hobby Lobby II Case Could Impose Religio-Wingnut Evangelical Tyranny On Health Insurers

Hobby Lobby II
On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito opened a Pandora’s box that has the potential to give some corporations the right to impose their “deeply held” religious objections to birth control on other corporations.
Remember when the owners of Hobby Lobby convinced the Supreme Court their company has strongly held religious beliefs and as such, should be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate?
The same day, the Obama Administration announced a fix to a similar objection raised by non-profits, which also apparently had strongly held religious beliefs about women’s reproductive rights. The Non-profits could fill out a form, declaring their religious opposition to contraception and identifying the company that provides their health care insurance.  This fix meant the government could work with the insurance provider to ensure that the non-profit’s employees would have coverage for contraceptives.
As a side note, I find it extremely convenient that “strongly held” religious beliefs never entail imposing restrictions on men’s access to healthcare services.  But I digress.
When the Supreme Court ruled on Hobby Lobby, it left people, including dissenting Supreme Court Justices, with the impression that the form fix would pass constitutional muster.
Four days later, the same court came out with another ruling in the case of Wheaton College v. Burwell.  In short, Wheaton College argued that filling out the form would make it a birth control enabler and conflict with the college’s “deeply held” religious beliefs.  The court ruled with the college, at least temporarily.  In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor did not mince words when she said: “Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”
Because that ruling was temporary, the question of whether the Court will allow artificial persons to deny the natural persons they employ of birth control coverage based on the artificial person’s “religious beliefs” remains unresolved.
Currently, if a for-profit or non-profit entity objects to filling out a form, they can write a letter stating their religious objections and the identity of their insurance administrator.
This brings us to Justice Alito’s ruling on Wednesday.  Alito stayed the Third Circuit’s ruling in Zubik v. Burwell. In short, the Third Circuit Court upheld the Obama administration’s rules pertaining to religious non-profits that want an exemption from the contraception mandate.  But Alito suspended that ruling because apparently writing a letter or filling out a form is unacceptable to these artificial persons with such strongly held religious beliefs.
So here’s where we are at the moment.  Artificial persons claim their “strongly held” religious beliefs gives them the right to be exempt from a law that mandates employers to provide their employees with contraceptive coverage as part of their healthcare coverage.  However, declaring their religious objections and providing the government with the name of their insurance administrator would somehow make the artificial person “complicit” in the big scheme of natural persons they employ getting birth control.  Like most sane people, judges in the lower courts haven’t been buying this argument.
In fact, the Third Circuit stated the true nature of this legal fight in its ruling.
Federal law, not the religious organization’s signing and mailing the form, requires health-care insurers, along with third-party administrators of self-insured plans, to cover contraceptive services.”  Thus, the plaintiffs’ “real objection” isn’t to sending a form or letter to the federal government; it is what happens after the form is provided – that is, to the actions of the insurance issuers and the third-party administrators, required by law once the [plaintiffs] give notice of their objection.
Federal law does not give these plaintiffs “a religious veto against plan providers’ compliance with those regulations, nor the right to enlist the government to effectuate such a religious veto against legally required conduct of third parties.
In short, the plaintiffs are not satisfied with imposing their “deeply held” religious beliefs on their employees.  They want the power of a religious veto to impose their beliefs on health insurers and third party administrators.
It is very likely that Alito’s order is a warning that the Supreme Court is ready to expand the meaning of an artificial person’s “religious freedom” beyond imposing it on the natural persons it employs.  It’s very likely that some on the Court hope to empower “religious” corporations to enlist government as the enforcer of a religious veto against legally mandated actions by third parties.
This never was about corporations with religious beliefs, strongly held or otherwise.  If it were about religious conviction, the companies in question would be satisfied to state their objection, get their exemption and be done with it.  As the Third Circuit noted, the objection is about what happens after the company states its objection.  That is the difference between the freedom to practice one’s religion and the tyranny that entails imposing a religious belief on unwilling subjects.