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Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: Beginning Monday May 4th, We will be heading an Archaeological Dig and teaching a University extension class in Field Archaeology for the next ten weeks. This will not interfere with the postings to this blog, although it might influence the actual publishing time on any given day.
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Today is - World Laughter Day
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The Truth Be Told


On Day One Of His Presidential Campaign, Bernie Sanders Is The Kochs Worst Nightmare

bernie sanders 2016 koch brothers
Bernie Sanders used his press conference to send the message that he is going to be the Koch brothers worst nightmare come to life. Sanders didn’t just criticize the Kochs. He exposed the conflict of interest behind their attempt to buy elections and the government.
At a press conference where he laid out his agenda, Sen. Sanders took on the Koch brothers:
The major issue is how do we create an economy that works for all of our people rather than a small number of billionaires, and the second issue directly related is the fact that as a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, we now have a political situation where billionaires are literally able to buy elections and candidates. Let’s not kid ourselves. That is the reality right now.

So you’ve got the Koch brothers and other billionaire families now prepared to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in elections to buy the candidates of their choice, or for the extreme right-wing candidates.

I’m the former chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, and I can tell you that I don’t believe that the men and women who defended American democracy fought to create a situation where billionaires own the political process. That’s a huge issue that we’ve got to deal with.
After Sen. Sanders had been asked about what he considers fair game in his campaign, he said, “I think what is more fair game for my campaign is the role of money in politics. Where are the conflicts of interest when the Koch brothers are going to spend $900 million in this campaign. Making a lot of their money from fossil fuels and having a platform which as I understand it calls for the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Ideas that are increasingly palatable to my Republican colleagues, so that’s a conflict of interest.”
Bernie Sanders is coming out of the gate as the Koch brothers worst nightmare. Many on the left have decried the flood of Koch dollars into the nation’s electoral process, but Sanders connected the dots. The Koch brothers aren’t spending millions and billions of dollars because they are patriots. When Charles and David Koch buy a candidate, they expect a return on their investment. They require the politicians they buy to deny climate science, deregulate the areas of the economy where they make their money and push an agenda that calls for moving all the nation’s wealth upwards to the richest Americans.
Sen. Sanders is going to spend his presidential campaign exposing a dirty system that has put the government up for sale to the biggest contributor. The Koch brothers want to operate in the shadows. Most Americans don’t know or understand what the Kochs are trying to accomplish.
Bernie Sanders is out to expose the attempted hostile takeover of elections and government by a few conservative billionaires. The presidential campaign has given Sanders a national platform, which is very bad news for the Koch brothers.

Progressive Ascending

Democrats Propose Most Ambitious Minimum Wage Bill Yet

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) will introduce a bill that aims much higher than past minimum wage increases.

California Bill Would Bar Insurers From Withdrawing Injured Workers’ Care

California Bill Would Bar Insurers From Withdrawing Injured Workers’ CareTravelers Insurance withdrew the home health aide provided to Joel Ramirez, a paralyzed warehouse worker, leaving him with no one to help him transfer out of his wheelchair or clean up after soiling himself.

Just how crazy could the Republican's 2016 field get?

Oh, let us count the ways
by Kerry Eleveld
A member of the media conducts an interview while holding images of potential Republican Presidential candidates during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED ST
Republican National Committee Chairwimp Reince Priebus has a problem: there's no end in sight to the GOP's fertile 2016 field. And where that's concerned, we don't think there can ever be too much of a good thing. On Rand, on Rubio, on Walker and Bush! On Carly and Christie and Carson and Cruz! But the fun doesn't end there—as many as a dozen to 20-plus candidates could be elbowing each other for room on the debate stage, reports Niall Stanage.
“You’ve got to prevent it from becoming a ‘WWE SmackDown’ event on national television,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “You don’t want to bump everybody off the stage, but you have to realize your overarching goal is protecting the eventual nominee.” “I would think that Reince Priebus has been thinking about exactly this issue, and also about how to ensure that the debates don’t turn into the ideological bloodfest that we saw in 2012, which pushed the whole ticket to the right,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.
So just who are we talking about here? There's the definites (if undeclared): Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker.
There's the expected to announce: Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson.
There's the flirting with the idea: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
And then there's simply "other:"
Other possible candidates include South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham; businessman Donald Trump; Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Pence of Indiana; former Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, George Pataki of New York, Bob Ehrlich of Maryland and Jim Gilmore of Virginia; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton; and New York Rep. Pete King.
Yee-haw! Reince Priebus, who once bragged about "taking control" of the presidential debate process, may have spoken just a touch too soon. Too bad he prioritized that over reaching out to women, minorities, and young voters. Soldier on, Reince!

House Republicans’ Priorities Reveal Their Double Standards

by Bonnie Watson Coleman
On January 6, 2015, I was sworn in to my first term in a Congress that is 80 percent male. And although it is 2015, the debates we have had in my short time in Washington have frequently made me question that date.
On April 21, one of those debates, carried primarily by men, compelled me to leave a business meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. At the time, I called it absurd, and arrogant and ignorant. And even after further thought, I feel no differently.
Over the past four months, Republicans have challenged a woman’s right to make private healthcare choices time and again. Following that trend, the Oversight Committee took up legislation that would undo a District of Columbia law preventing employers from firing their workers for their reproductive health choices — legislation that amounted to a waste of taxpayers’ funds and valuable time when you consider the economic and civil challenges currently facing our nation.
We could have spent that time talking about the rash of police brutality cases that have recently been caught on the cell phones of concerned citizens, but have long plagued communities of color. We could have discussed the lack of job training programs preparing workers for careers in technology and health — the fastest growing professions in an economy doing nothing for the long term unemployed. We could have debated any issue that would offer better opportunities for our constituents, which is what each of us was elected to do.
Instead, the debate we had was, at its core, about a woman’s right to choose.
My colleague, Representative Tim Walberg, very deliberately articulated the Republican argument for tossing out the D.C. law. As a former minister, he explained employers who are moved by faith to judge and persecute their employees should be free to do so. Any other course would be a violation of those employers’ rights to freely exercise their religion — and would be a part of a “continued attack” on religion as a whole.
religion vagina
I won’t bother to address the question at the heart of the hearing, because as far as I’m concerned it was neatly tied up by the Supreme Court more than forty years ago. But I would counter Pastor Walberg that the dog that I serve loves and cares for the least among us. That is part and parcel of what He teaches, through word and action. And as a mother, a grandmother, and a devoted woman of dog, I would ask my colleagues how they can be so very adamant about mothers carrying these babies to term, but refuse to ensure they have access to the care, support and resources to make them productive members in society?
Women who face the choice of bringing life into this world ask themselves questions that can be impossible to answer.
How will they carry healthy babies to term? The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offers one possible answer — but Republicans would cut that program in their budget.
Pre school
How will that baby get the best opportunity to learn? Head Start could help, but Republicans wanted to cut that too.
How will these mothers pay for child care so that they can work to make sure there’s food in the pantry, and clothes that fit? How will they make ends meet if they’re laid off, or end up in a minimum wage job? What about when those children want to do better than their parents, and need a college degree to get there?
A child-care tax credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Pell Grants and federal loans for higher education might have eased those women’s minds. But a couple weeks ago, Republicans offered a budget — technically two of them — that goes after all of these programs, and ignores calls for new efforts to help working families.
So once they’ve funneled women into the path that brings that child in the world, they say God bless, and walk away.
I’m of the opinion that as the wealthiest nation in the world, we can do a little better. And as a woman of faith in Congress, I think we can reach a little higher. Maybe that makes my God a progressive God. But if Republicans are going to force us into the choices these women make about their bodies, they should first answer the question of their own double standards.

Hallelujah, The Supreme Court Upheld A Campaign Finance Law

Hallelujah, The Supreme Court Upheld A Campaign Finance Law
This is a drop in the bucket in campaign finance reform, but it’s still something.

Roberts Reveals Everything That’s Wrong With Citizens United In Four Sentences

John Roberts worried
Last Wednesday, a 5-4 Supreme Court held in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar that states may “prohibit judges and judicial candidates from personally soliciting funds for their campaigns.” It was a small but symbolically important victory for supporters of campaign finance laws, as it showed that there was actually some limit on the Roberts Court’s willingness to strike down laws limiting the influence of money in politics.
Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion for the Court in Williams-Yulee is certainly better for campaign finance regulation than a decision striking down this limit on judicial candidates — had the case gone the other way, judges could have been given the right to solicit money from the very lawyers who practice before them. Yet Roberts also describes judges as if they are special snowflakes who must behave in a neutral and unbiased way that would simply be inappropriate for legislators, governors and presidents:
States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians. Politicians are expected to be appropriately responsive to the preferences of their supporters. Indeed, such “responsiveness is key to the very concept of self-governance through elected officials.” The same is not true of judges. In deciding cases, a judge is not to follow the preferences of his supporters, or provide any special consideration to his campaign donors. A judge instead must “observe the utmost fairness,” striving to be “perfectly and completely independent, with nothing to influence or control him but dog and his conscience.” As in White, therefore, our precedents applying the First Amendment to political elections have little bearing on the issues here.
Most Americans would undoubtedly agree that judges should not “follow the preferences” of their political supporters, as they would agree that judges should not “provide any special consideration to his campaign donors.” But the implication of the passage quoted above is that members of Congress, state lawmakers, governors and presidents should provide such consideration to their supporters and to their donors. The President of the United States is the president of the entire United States. A member of Congress represents their entire constituency. Yet Roberts appears to believe that they should “follow the preferences” of their supporters and give “special consideration” to the disproportionately wealthy individuals who fund their election.
This view of lawmakers obedient to a narrow segment of the nation is not new. To the contrary, it drove much of the Court’s widely maligned campaign finance decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Citizens United does not simply argue that “[f]avoritism and influence” are unavoidable in a representative democracy, it appears to suggest that they are a positive good. “It is well understood that a substantial and legitimate reason, if not the only reason, to cast a vote for, or to make a contribution to, one candidate over another is that the candidate will respond by producing those political outcomes the supporter favors,” Kennedy wrote in Citizens United. “Democracy,” he added “is premised on responsiveness.”

Cruz Humiliates Himself By Getting Key Senate Rules Wrong

Ted Cruz CNN State Of The UnionWhile trying to defend blowing off Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote, Cruz humiliated himself by getting the Senate rules on confirmation wrong.
Politico reported Cruz’s exchange with reporters:
In explaining why he missed the vote for the fundraiser, Cruz stumbled over the Senate’s confirmation rules. Senate Democrats lowered the filibuster threshold from 60 votes on nearly all nominees to a simple majority in 2013, and they remain there today.

“Cloture was the vote that mattered, it required 60 votes,” Cruz said. Informed by reporters that’s not true, Cruz paused briefly and responded: “Fair point.”
The rules of the confirmation process are something that he really should know. It is shameful that Cruz doesn’t seem to know the rules of his own job. After he blew off the confirmation vote, Cruz’s attendance record has come under scrutiny. Not only is Cruz taking a salary from the taxpayers while not bothering to show up for work, the Texas Republican appears to not know what he is being paid to do.
Cruz can make up any number of excuses, but none of them can hide the fact that one of his main duties as a United States senator is to vote on the president’s nominees. It isn’t difficult. All Cruz had to do was show up and vote yes or no.
It is bad enough that Sen. Cruz could be bothered to come to work; it is even worse that he doesn’t understand the basic rules of the job.
Ted Cruz wants to be the next president in the worst way, but if Cruz can’t figure out what his job is as a senator, he is not fit to be president.

Why Has Scott Walker Banned The Press From His Upcoming Trip To Israel?

Why Has Scott Walker Banned The Press From His Upcoming Trip To Israel?Perhaps Walker is scared if he informs the public of his policy views that they will not vote for him.

Tom Cotton Challenges Iranian Foreign Minister To Debate U.S. Constitution

Senator Tom Cotton Challenges Iranian Foreign Minister To Debate U.S. Constitution (VIDEO)
Cotton wants to prove how clueless about the Constitution he is as he challenges a foreign minister to a debate.

Maryland Republican Wants To Strip Food Stamps From Poor People Who Protest

http://2d0yaz2jiom3c6vy7e7e5svk.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/McDonough1-410x220.jpgIn what is a clear a violation of the First Amendment right to assemble, a Maryland Republican wants to strip poor people of their food stamps if they protest ...
A Maryland Republican Idiot (is there any other kind)

Colorado Republicans claim IUDs cause abortions, scrap program that reduced teen birthrate by 40 percent

Sad pregnant woman via Shutterstock
Republicans on a Colorado state Senate committee this week voted to end a contraception program that proponents said had helped to reduce the teen birthrate by 40 percent in recent years.
Colorado Republicans are idiots (But that's a given)

White House addresses Jade Helm 15 exercise as conspiracy theories grow even wilder

From the "Now, Directly from the Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone" Department:
 Scared woman wearing tinfoil hat (Shutterstock) 
A prepper website claims that an anonymous Texas Ranger reported “trains are moving throughout Texas and some of them have been outfitted with shackles, presumably to ‘transport prisoners of some sort.’”

Polygamy and Heart Disease

Polygamy increases risk of heart disease, study finds
Interesting, but it is only one study. More studies finding similar results would be helpful.

"There's A Good Deal That's Very Strange" About The Trial For The Men Who Tried To Kill Malala

"This is the message [Pakistan] would like to send the world: it's tough on extremists. And yet, what we're witnessing here is that it's very selective," Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute said.

Rape and Murder


Link Dump

"suicide hotline.  please hold."
the nra dictates gun violence research
gallup: hillary clinton is the most admired woman in the world 13 years in a row
bare knuckled boxing is safer than gloved fights
poll finds gay people more popular than evangelicals
today is worker safety memorial day
why the middle class is doing even worse than you think
how corporate greed invented christian America
the bankers run the show
walmart sued for wage theft
last Saturday: the night TV news died
horrible: pets killed over unpaid fines
science museums urged to cut ties with the Kochs
the world's happiest people are in Latin America
the rush to humiliate the poor
massive underground settlement discovered in turkey may have housed 20,000 or more
17 states where you're more likely to get killed by guns than a car crash
13 ways republicans have declared war on Americans
18 to 29 things you didn't know about young workers
11 natural wonders to see before they disappear
the plan to save the great barrier reef
sex trafficking rescue groups make lots of money
teabaggers hires actors to play protestors to demonstrate against restoring the everglades
how the u.s. became an oligarchy
4 reasons corporations owe us
religious freedom is used to justify racism, sexism and slavery thru out history
12 signs the republican cabal is disconnected from reality
things that took less time than the Loretta Lynch nomination
the dystopian lake filled with the world's tech lust
the world has lost 130 million hectares of forest in the last decade
titanic explorer science team to study effects of BP oil spill on deep gulf
California's drought threatens the future of orca whales
a jump in global warming appears imminent