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Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you ...!  
The Truth Be Told is read in 203 countries around the world.
Republicans hate him because he worked to educate and preserve 
- two things that they just cannot abide ... !

Today is - Audubon Day
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Climate Change Alert: 2015 Shapes Up To Be Hottest Year Ever

Featured image for climate change: Composite with chairs cc 2007 Bbadgett/Wikimedia Commons and Fire cc 2009 Cameron Strandberg/Wikimedia Commons.
While 56 percent of Republicans in Congress deny climate change exists, 2015 shapes up to be the hottest year on record.

Gallup Poll Shows Conclusively Who Climate Change Deniers Are, And It’s EXACTLY Who You Thought

(Image courtesy of openparachute.files.wordpress.com)
These folks think of climate change as something akin to the way atheists think of the Lord’s second coming — it’s never going to happen.

Hillary Clinton Obliterates The Latest Republican Benghazi Stunt With A Single Letter

Hillary Clinton
In a letter, former Sec. Clinton’s attorney David Kendall took all the air out the Republican hopes to drag the Benghazi Committee into the 2016 election, and destroyed their latest conspiracy before it got going.
Kendall wrote to Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-OK) that Clinton wants to testify before the committee without delay:
In November, I informed your staff of Secretary Clinton’s willingness to testify before the Select Committee on Benghazi. In the succeeding months, she has reiterated her willingness, and I do so again on her behalf. There is no reason to delay her appearance, or have her testify in a private interview.
While Secretary Clinton has testified before committees in both the House and the Senate about the tragic events in Benghazi, she has made clear that she will voluntarily testify publicly again before the Select Committee and, at that time, is happy to continue to answer any questions the Select Committee may have about her email use.
Earlier in the day, Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed that the Benghazi investigation was going to stretch into 2016 because Hillary Clinton and President Obama are refusing to turn over “the facts.”
The truth is that House Republicans are trying to delay Clinton’s testimony in order to use it as an issue during the 2016 presidential election.
The ranking Democratic member of the Benghazi Select Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) put his finger on the real reason why Republicans want former Sec. Clinton to testify behind closed doors, “Secretary Clinton agreed to testify months ago—in public and under oath—so the Select Committee’s claim that it has no choice but to subject her to a private staff interview is inaccurate. Rather than drag out this political charade into 2016 and selectively leak portions of a closed-door interview, the Committee should schedule the public hearing, make her records public, and re-focus its efforts on the attacks in Benghazi.”
Clinton wants to testify in public because she has nothing to hide. By calling Boehner and Gowdy’s bluff, she is painting Republicans into a corner. The House Republicans are trying to imply that she is guilty of wrongdoing by creating the false perception that Clinton is unwilling to testify. Sec. Clinton and her team are masterfully exposing the partisan motivations behind the latest Benghazi investigation.
Hillary Clinton laid to waste the latest Republican attack on her before it ever got started. The message to Republicans is that Hillary Clinton isn’t going to engage in their games, and if they want to dabble in conspiracies, the former Sec. of State is ready to make them pay.

Smoke 'n' Mirrors


Quick Hits

Republicans move to extend Patriot Act provision that allows NSA to collect phone data
Venice beach passes topless sunbathing proposal: 'This is an equality issue'
The most accurate atomic clock ever built won't lose or gain a second for 15 billion years
Michigan woman jailed after McDonald's shooting over bacon-less burger
Islamic school in Australia bans girls from running over virginity fears
20 cash-starved public colleges drafting bankruptcy plans thanks to Bobby Jindal’s budget
Obama urges Iran to play positive role in Yemen
'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' describes 'orderly' death camp at German trial
US Navy conducts first drone in-flight refueling
Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are early frontrunners in 2016 election poll
China warns: North Korea's nuclear arsenal is expanding
Senate committee backs bill giving White House 'fast track' powers over trade deal
Joe Arpaio tells federal judge he had 'subordinates' apply court order to stop racial profiling

According To Fox News, Americans Wouldn’t Join ISIL If Obama Was More Like Reagan

Meanwhile in Fantasy-Land:
According To Fox News, Americans Wouldn’t Join ISIS If Obama Was More Like Reagan
Crazy Dr. Ablow and his cracked team of experts...
The Stupid - It Burns!

Republicans wouldn't know what Socialism is, even if it bit them in the ass

by Steve Benen
2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at the National Rifle Association convention, April 10, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Mark Humphrey/AP)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) probably wouldn’t be a competitive national candidate, but he nevertheless seems to be moving forward with his plans for a presidential campaign. Late last week, he even released an ad teasing a likely announcement.
In the spot, which is airing in New Hampshire, the Republican says he’s had enough of “Obama-style socialism.” He didn’t appear to be kidding.
The comment came to mind yesterday reading Dave Weigel’s latest report on Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who seems annoyed by scuttlebutt about Republicans nominating a governor, not a senator, for their 2016 ticket.
After Texas Senator Ted Cruz addressed the First in the Nation summit in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Saturday, he headed to a basement conference room for a conversation with young Republicans…. When one audience member asked Cruz what executive experience he could bring to the job, Cruz lambasted the “greybeards” in Washington for coming up with the “senator versus governor” framework in the first place.
“Obama is not a disaster because he was a senator,” said Cruz. “Obama is a disaster because he’s an unmitigated socialist, what he believes is profoundly dangerous, and he’s undermined the Constitution and the role of America in the world.”
Let’s put aside the question of whether or not President Obama’s successful tenure constitutes a “disaster,” and instead focus on that other part.
They keep using that word, “socialism,” but I don’t think it means what they think it means.
Look, there’s no reason for “socialism” to serve as a synonym for “stuff Republicans don’t like.” It’s an actual word with a fairly specific meaning, involving public ownership of the means of production.
And it in no way reflects the Obama era. After corporate profits reached all-time highs, the stock markets reached all-time highs, and the sharp drop in the unemployment rate was based almost entirely on private-sector job growth, I thought to myself, “Well, at least they’ll stop calling Obama a ‘socialist.’” But here we are anyway, hearing the same nonsense.
Have we considered the possibility that Republicans literally don’t know what “socialism” means? Isn’t it plausible that knee-jerk partisans have relied so heavily on the word for so long that they simply have lost track of its definition?
Cruz complained last year, “Right now, the top 1 percent in this country … earn a higher share of our national income than any time since 1928.” I’m curious: does the far-right senator believe those are economic conditions created by “an unmitigated socialist”? Or does Cruz believe the president is just really ineffective in implementing his socialist vision?

Boehner Attempts to Undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Republicans are more than willing to waste money to help the rich and corporations, but money spent protecting the rest of us is "wasteful"…
Because the preamble of the United States Constitution speaks of “We the people,” rather than “We the corporations,” Boehner does not quite reach that proper, patriotic tone when he says, “No more regulation without representation.”
John BoehnerWASHINGTON, DC – Boehner (R-OH)  applauded House passage of H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act, which would establish a small business committee to advise regulators throughout the rule-making process:
“One reason small businesses are still struggling is that they don’t have a seat at the table where regulators are making the decisions. This bipartisan plan ends regulation without representation and gives small business owners a real say in the process. We shouldn’t just be listening to the people who create most of the new jobs in America; we should be empowering them to help develop rules that will protect investment and innovation. I’m sure I’m just one of many current and former small business owners pleased we have acted today to hold the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accountable.”
Did you catch that last part? The CFPB makes businesses accountable by protecting consumers. Boehner wants to reverse how this works, and make those who protect consumers held accountable to businesses.
Which defeats the purpose. Republicans called the CFPB “unnecessary government overreach” and Boehner appears to think he’s found an underhanded way to defang federal protection of consumers like you and me. The claim to be helping small businesses is just subterfuge.
H.R. 1195, otherwise known as the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act,” is sponsored by Republican Robert Pittenger, Representative for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, and introduced on March 2, 2015.
It is, its description tells us, a bill “To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to establish advisory boards, and for other purposes.” The details and rationale of the bill are described here.
In essence, the bill establishes a “Small Business Advisory Board” which “will ensure small businesses have the opportunity to provide input to the CFPB regarding their concerns.” This is the part Boehner is pushing. There is more – the ominous “other purposes” – but we will get to that in a moment.
Of course, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), whose mission it is to “make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”
The CFPB’s core functions are:
  • Write rules, supervise companies, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws
  • Restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices
  • Take consumer complaints
  • Promote financial education
  • Research consumer behavior
  • Monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers
  • Enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance
You might notice the CFPB protects consumers from businesses and corporations, big or small. Because, as the Romans wisely said, “Let the buyer beware.” And the Romans would know. They didn’t have a CFPB.
We can point out on the one hand that it defeats the purpose if the businesses consumers are being protected from get to pick and choose their own regulations. This is not at all a promising trend for consumers.
Republicans call HR 1195 “bipartisan,” but the bill has 15 Republican co-sponsors to only four Democrats. The vote yesterday was 235 yes versus 183 no. Only four Democrats voted for the bill, which tells you just how bipartisan it really is (see who voted for and against here).
And in fact, as Nancy Pelosi has pointed out, H.R. 1195 is just “the latest House GOP attempt to undermine the CFPB which protects hard-working American consumers.” No surprise given the long history of Republican opposition to the CFPB in the first place and its attacks on it since.
Far from simply adding a voice for small businesses, an important aspect of the bill (an amendment by Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), is that it cuts the CFPB’s funding by placing a ceiling on its budget.
One of the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), urged opposition to the bill, saying Republicans “put the torch to it.”
The same Republicans who are willing to throw away billions through government shut-downs, repeated investigations of Benghazi, suing the president, repealing Obamacare, and pointless other invented scandals, attack what they call the “CFPB’s bloated, wasteful spending.”
For all their claims to be champions of the middle class, that is what the Republicans think of spending money when the money is actually helping Americans like us.
This spending ceiling is something the administration naturally says it opposes. Not only does the CFPB not need additional committees, but, says the White House,
“…the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1195 as amended by House passage last week of the rule for consideration of the bill, which would reduce the cap on the total amount of funding that could be requested by the Director for the CFPB for FYs 2020 and 2025… These reductions to the caps could result in, among other things, undermining critical protections for families from abusive and predatory financial products. If the President were presented with H.R. 1195 as currently amended, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
So Obama’s advisors have said they will recommend he veto the bill.
Now he will get his chance.

Delusional Lindsey Graham Has No Chance Of Ever Being Pretender


There is nothing as offensive to most people as an egotist that continuously attempts to enhance or exaggerate their own importance, power, or reputation, and it often is the result of some innocent remark or act of another person. There is no person in America as self-aggrandizing as Senator Lindsey Graham whose self-imposed image as a brilliant foreign policy and international relations genius informs him he can be president. Of course, Graham’s only solution for dealing with the world is fear-mongering Americans into believing that pre-emptive wars and American boots on the ground is what makes America a world leader. Graham has been an avid supporter of George W. Bush’s invasion and occupy foreign policy that embroiled America in two protracted and unnecessary wars of aggression to kill Muslims. Conversely, Graham has been a very vocal critic of President Obama’s successful diplomacy that has kept America out of several wars Graham’s warmongering cohorts promoted relentlessly; particularly against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On Sunday last, Graham stated categorically that because President Obama finally relented and agreed to sign legislation giving Congress a say in reviewing the nuclear negotiations with Iran that he “doesn’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell that this framework will get approved by Congress.” Graham went so far as to reveal that he knows the minds of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress because “no Republican or Democrat is going to allow that to become final.” That is why the President should have forced the House and Senate to override his veto of legislation giving Congress a say in the negotiations; not because Congress will actually affect the outcome of the P5+1 deal with Iran, but because it would have shut Republicans like Graham’s bloviating for the time being.
It is worthwhile to remind Republicans that as Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif already noted, Republicans cannot stop the deal with Iran. Zarif said “the current negotiation with P5+1 [Britain, China, France, Germany Russia and the United States] will result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It is not a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but one concluded with five other countries including all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” It is also not a treaty the Senate has authority to reject.
Now, if all-knowing Lindsey Graham is the pre-eminent foreign and international policy expert he portrays himself to be, he would comprehend that the United States Congress has no say in whether the deal ‘has a snowball’s chance in Hell’ of being approved. Besides Graham’s god delusion that he knows exactly what is in the minds and intentions of all Republicans and Democrats, he said that he, and only he, is qualified to handle Middle East foreign policy.
What Graham actually said was that no-one, not Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, or any Republican is better prepared to deal with nations in the Middle East, particularly Iran, than Lindsey Graham. He said “I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy,” and that “the Lindsey Graham worldview and view of foreign policy will always beat Barack Obama’s view of foreign policy and Hillary Clinton’s view of foreign policy.” He also said because America has not invaded the substantial number of countries he wants to invade, and there are many, “the world is literally falling apart.”
The truth of the matter is that since he has been in the Senate as a self-proclaimed foreign policy genius and advocate for several wars against several nations, Graham has been wrong at every turn. In fact as foreign policy warmongers go, Graham makes crazy “bomb everybody” warmonger John McCain look like Mahatma Gandhi advocating for world peace and harmony among nations.
Graham is notorious for trying to scare Americans into supporting perpetual American wars of aggression against every nation on Earth except the country where his true allegiance lies, Israel. In fact, next to Israeli warmonger Benjamin Netanyahu, there is likely no greater warmonger than Lindsey Graham. The man’s self-aggrandizing opinion of himself as the wisest foreign policy genius on Earth is only second to Netanyahu; the foreigner Graham emulates in pushing for American wars against Muslim nations throughout the Middle East. Graham, by his own assignation has crowned himself America’s preeminent spokesman on national security and international relations issues even though he is always wrong; but that is not how Graham sees it according to his statement on national television last Sunday.
Graham’s only foreign policy prescription for America can be summed up as true leadership means having the resolve to use force as a first choice, and that there is no diplomacy without bombs and Americans sent in harm’s way. In Graham’s view, not waging preemptive war is ineffective, a sign of weakness and indecision, and squanders the ability to strike fear in the hearts of the world’s population. Graham said the only way to prevent the “world from literally blowing up” is more American wars. Graham subscribes to Netanyahu’s appraisal that “we live in the most dangerous times imaginable.” Apparently Graham is unaware of World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, or any other eras or events he was alive to remember.
Lindsey Graham has been wrong about everything in the Middle East from the duration of the Iraq War he claimed would be over in a year, to the “existential threat to America” from a non-nuclear Iran. Interestingly, in 2013 he put his foot in his mouth and slandered the nation he loves above all others, Israel, and saidThe last place in the world you want nuclear weapons is the Mideast. Why? People over there are crazy.” The only place in the Mideast that has any kind of nuclear arsenal is Israel; something a renowned foreign policy and international relations wonk certainly should know. But that is Graham’s dysfunction; he is no more of a foreign policy expert or knows any more  about international relations than a rock.
Graham claims he is 91% sure he is going to make a run for the White House and is basing his qualifications on his ability to warn Americans about the scary and dangerous world because America is not waging wars on several fronts in several nations at once. Lindsey Graham is never going to be president, is never going to win the Republican nomination, and Republicans and Israeli-Democrats are never going to thwart the P5+1 deal with Iran because they are not members of the United Nations Security Council; period. They are delusional bloviates whose foreign policy acumen amounts to trying to frighten Americans who, after two unnecessary Middle East wars, have figured out that Republican warmongers are the only existential threat in the world.

Christie Gave Top Fundraiser Hidden Millions From State Pension

From the "Public Enemies" Department:
Christie Gave Top Fundraiser Hidden Millions From State PensionSo that's where the money went!
Hidden Millions 

Georgia City Council Flirts With Theocracy By Flying christian Flag On Government Buildings

Image via Screenshot
A Georgia town is flirting with theocracy after the city council voted twice against the advice of the city attorney to fly a Christian flag on government buildings.

Maybe Greg Abbott Showed Scott Walker His Framed Collection Of Koch Checks

From the "Idiots will be Idiots" Department:
Maybe Greg Abbott Showed Scott Walker His Framed Collection Of Koch Checks
Why is Scott Walker putting Koch support at risk?
Koch checks and the strings attached

Scott Walker Dumped As Koch Candidate After Interview Fiasco

Scott Walker Dumped As Koch Candidate After Interview FiascoThe Koch Brothers are now holding auditions for the GOP Presidential candidate in 2016 after their anointed pick goes rogue.

Next ...

Like everything else he's done Walker fucked up with the Kochs

Ray-Ban Wants Nothing To Do Rand Paul — Tells Him To Remove Sunglasses From Campaign Store

Ray-Ban Wants Nothing To Do Rand Paul — Tells Him To Remove Sunglasses From Campaign Store
The faux-libertarian must think trademark rules don’t apply to him, because, you know, freedom.

Rand Paul’s son was ‘belligerent’ ...

From the "Like Father, Like Son" Department:
January 2013 mugshot for William Hilton Paul, son of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). [WKYT-TV]
Rand Paul’s son was ‘belligerent’ while being cited for drunk driving: police

Putting Hannity in his place

Sean Hannity (Fox News)

Dark Red Oklahoma Angers Big Oil And Gas: Energy Practices Causing State’s Earthquakes

oklahoma earthquake
As the nation commemorated Earth Day 2015 this past week with a variety of observances, activities and awareness campaigns, it’s the perfect time to renew calls for bipartisan cooperation to address climate change. And I’m also pleased to report a welcome anomaly among hard-core red states that should set an example for other Republican-misled governments to follow.
On Tuesday, writer Michael Wines of The New York Times published a piece entitled Oklahoma Recognizes Role of Drilling in Earthquakes. The lead, pardon the pun, was rather seismic:
“Abandoning years of official skepticism, Oklahoma’s government on Tuesday embraced a scientific consensus that earthquakes rocking the state are largely caused by the underground disposal of billions of barrels of wastewater from oil and gas wells.”
Although we should not fall all over ourselves commending overdue common sense, the change is significant for two major reasons.
Oklahoma is a Red State – capital “R,” capital “S.” How Red is it? On January 25 of this year, Randy Krehbiel of the Tulsa World wrote, “Republicans will hold 112 of 149 seats in the Legislature that begins a week from Monday, plus every elected statewide office and the entire congressional delegation. And good luck to the Democrat who tries to make the two-party argument.”
With over 75 percent of the state’s lawmakers leaning to the hard right, it is kind of amazing that leadership would adopt a policy position that stands in direct contrast to the national party’s official platform on Natural Resources. Just for fun, here is the section related to Protecting Our Environment verbatim:
“The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago. Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public. An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the States to reduce pollution.”
I suppose the GOP forgot to forward this memo to the 97 percent of climate scientists who agree that our planet is not, in fact, “getting cleaner and healthier.” Maybe the total falsehood of the assertion is part of the problem.
In light of the party’s mandate that the federal government illustrate “a spirit of cooperation with producers [Big Energy], landowners [the landed gentry], and the public [afterthought peons],” Oklahoma is committing a real act of partisan treason. With its new position that oil and gas conglomerates are the direct cause of the state’s devastating earthquakes, up to two 3.0 magnitude tremors per day, cue the dissatisfaction of energy interests. After Republican Governor Mary Fallin’s office issued the new guidance this week, Wines writes:
“[The] actions met a mixed response from the oil and gas industry and the Governor’s critics. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association disputed the Geological Survey’s conclusions, saying in a statement that further study of the state’s quakes remained necessary.”
Uh huh. However, Democrats are welcoming the new, fact-based approach. Wines observes, “One of the most prominent advocates of stronger action on the earthquake issue, State Representative Cory Williams, a Democrat, said he had been pleasantly surprised by the change in what he called the state’s ‘head in the sand’ approach to the quake problem.
Climate change is one of the issues where it’s always better to act late than never. It remains to be seen if the practices of oil and gas companies can be altered to reverse the ecological damage done in the State of Oklahoma, and party leaders deserve continued rebuke for a failure to impose a moratorium sooner. In fact, they may never get around to imposing it at all. But if words are powerful and can change the constituent conversation (which they can, as it took years of disingenuous proselytizing from Republicans to talk the EPA-creating party of Nixon back into the dark ages), then Oklahoma may have just taken a great leap forward in saving itself.

Popeyes offers job back to manager ...

Marissa Holcomb (KHOU)