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Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Bernie Sanders Is Proudly Defending His Democratic Socialism From Ignorant Attacks

Senator Bernie Sanders isn’t running away from his beliefs. In fact, he is challenging Americans to admit to themselves that they love their Democratic Socialism.
Transcript via This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You are asking for a lot of shakeup. Is it really possible for someone who calls himself a socialist to be elected president of the United States?
SANDERS: Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is. And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously. The voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the United States. In those countries, health care is the right of all people. And in those countries, college education, graduate school is free. In those countries, retirement benefits, childcare are stronger than in the United States of America. And in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I can hear the Republican attack ad right now. He wants American to look more like Scandinavia.
SANDERS: That’s right. That’s right. And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong when you have more income and wealth equality? What’s wrong when they have a stronger middle class in many ways than we do, higher minimum wage than we do, and they are stronger on the environment than we do? Look, the fact of the matter is, we do a lot in our country, which is good, but we can learn from other countries. We have, George, the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth, at the same time as we are seeing a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires. Frankly, I don’t think that is sustainable. I don’t think that’s what America is about.
According to the Democratic Socialists Of America, Democratic Socialism does not mean government control of the economy, “Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.”
The problem is that Republicans have defined everything that isn’t trickle-down economics as socialism. Republicans define liberalism as socialism. Republicans think progressivism is socialism when in reality, they have no idea what socialism is.
It is refreshing to see a candidate for office proudly defend his ideology instead of trying to hide or run away from it. Bernie Sanders is not a socialist as Republicans are fond of claiming.
Sanders’s question was legitimate. What’s wrong with the idea of a stronger middle-class and higher minimum wage? What’s wrong with making the super wealthy pay their fair share and reopening the doors of economic opportunity for all? The fact is that most Americans love their socialism. For example. Medicare is a beloved program.
Bernie Sanders isn’t shying away from his beliefs, and he is combating Republican perpetuated ignorance one interview at a time.

Hillary Clinton Gives The Republican Benghazi Conspiracy Theory the Finger

hillary clinton republican senators iran letter
Secretary Hillary Clinton’s lawyer informed Republican conspiracy theorists also known as the Republican Party that she will not be playing their election conspiracy games.
Citing their request for her to appear on two separate occasions — once in May and once at a later to be determined date (aka, closer to the election cuz this is totes legit!) — in a letter to Trey Gowdy of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Clinton’s lawyer replied, “Respectfully, there is no basis, logic or precedent for your request.”
Instead of the two times Republicans requested, in what has been called out as an obvious election maneuver, Sec. Clinton will appear once, during the week of May 18th or later.
In other words — and these are my words, stop being a Republican witch hunter and finally at long last, f off. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Clinton’s lawyer pointed out that not only is this illogical, but she ALREADY did this and the questions have been asked and answered too many times to count:
The Democratic presidential candidate already obliterated the Republicans’ Benghazi stunts with a single letter, announcing that she wants to testify without delay. This was after Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that the Benghazi investigation was going to stretch into 2016 because Hillary Clinton and President Obama were refusing to turn over “the facts.”
Clinton has already testified for Republicans about the tragic evens in Benghazi. And even the Republicans who testified for the Republicans told the Republicans that there is no coverup. Naturally, instead of turning their attentions to the plight of the nation still reeling from the Bush recession, Republicans decided they just had to dig harder, on the taxpayer dime.
After all, Republicans have ads to cut against Hillary Clinton and this footage will be sliced and diced until she appears to be the devil. Republicans will then leak those parts to a willing press. Thanks, taxpayers!
Also, if Republicans can drag this out close to the election, they get free mainstream media coverage and given the media’s frothing hatred of all things Clinton, it would be full of innuendo and sneering contempt. Republicans will do this as they did it in the past, by keeping their Benghazi hearings closed and only leaking the portions they want the public to hear. Republicans refused to let the co-chairs of the Benghazi review testify in public, in spite of their requests to do so.
If Republicans just want the truth, why would they refuse to allow the testimony to be made in public? Well, probably because Co-Chair Pickering told MSNBC, “I believe, in fact, the Accountability Review Board did its work well. I think the notion of, quote, a cover-up has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it.”
That was back in 2013. But Republicans are still going. The one place they aren’t looking, naturally, is at themselves, in spite of being told by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) during a Benghazi hearing that if they wanted to know who was responsible for Benghazi, they should buy themselves a mirror, telling them they have:
“the audacity to come here” when the administration requested, for worldwide security, “$440 million more than you guys wanted to provide. And the answer is that you damn didn’t provide it! You REDUCED what the administration asked for to protect these people. Ask not who the guilty party is, it’s you! It is us. It is this committee, and the things that we insist that we need have to cost money.”
If anyone is waiting for the press or Republicans to question why this charade is going on still, many years after everyone realized there was no there there, don’t bother. This will be the shiny ball that replaces discussions about things like middle class jobs and wages for working families, because this is hot. It will sell. Wages for the working poor won’t sell like a fictional scandal.
But Sec. Clinton isn’t going to play along, so the press and the Republicans will be stuck with only one more Benghazi moment to really stick it to Clinton.
Instead of expecting accuracy, it’s best to head into these things betting on the craziest and most paranoid thing the press will say, based on an undisclosed Republican aide’s feelings about an event they didn’t witness. Naturally this source won’t be identified or even referenced as the actual source of the entire basis of the claim.
The circus is in town and Ms. Clinton is giving them the figurative finger they so richly deserve. Too bad she can’t issue them a bill on behalf of the taxpayers.

A constitutional amendment is the only solution to our fraudulent politics

by Egberto Willies
Does ‘we the people’ matter anymore? Will it always be pay to play for the foreseeable future? Will we ever get our country back? Not the tea party type ‘get our country back’ but actually have a democracy? To be clear, America was never a democracy. One man one vote (one person one vote) was never an implicit reality. Any reading of Federalist 10 makes that patently clear. Why? Ultimately the powers then and today’s plutocracy realized that it would change the social and economic order based on a real meritocracy, compromises, and the hard work of selling many ideas. You see an idea that benefits a few would never fly from an enlightened populace.
As Americans were becoming more liberal and enlightened they demanded democracy, social democracy and economic democracy. The plutocracy would have none of that. We are living through an implemented Powell Manifesto that has in effect dumbed down the population by infiltrating news media and schools as it decimates unions and liberal values.
Many organizations believe that this problem will be solved simply by effecting some sort of electoral reform that gets money out of politics. They believe that reversing the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions would somehow set things right. One must remember that pre-Citizens United and pre-McCutcheon, our politics was not much better.

Tehran Tom Cotton’s Tactics on Iran Deal Are Backfiring on Rubio and Cruz

You might be angry with Ted Cotton (R-AR), author of the 47 traitors letter that was sent to leadership in Iran in an effort to derail President Obama’s nuclear talks.
But Cotton must love his country a little bit, because his aggression on the Iran bill is set to backfire not only on the issues he was pushing for, but also set to scuttle amendments put forth by two Republican pretender hopefuls who could have really used the ad copy, establishment favorite Marco Rubio (R-FLA) and troll of both sides of the aisle for his own enrichment, Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Writing that McConnell (R-KY) is set to wrap this deal up and move on Monday, Burgess Everett at Politico revealed, “Republican leaders are preparing to clamp down on Tom Cotton’s efforts to derail a bipartisan compromise on legislation giving Congress review power over a nuclear deal with Iran, clearing the way for it to be passed this week.”
Everett broke it down:
Before Cotton made his move, Corker and Cardin had been working with party leaders to deal with demands for votes on some hot-button provisions. When Cotton jammed his and Rubio’s amendments into the voting queue, those delicate talks ended abruptly.

With support from Democrats, the Senate GOP will get its opportunity to disapprove of any nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States. The popular congressional review bill allows Congress to disapprove of lifting legislative sanctions and requires regular reports on Iran’s compliance with the deal.
Back in March, Republicans were openly worried that Cotton’s treasonous letter would backfire on them. A general even accused Cotton and the other 46 senators who signed his letter of being ” mutinous”. General Eaton said “I would use the word mutinous. I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.”
Well, at least the Senatorial thugs weren’t looting. I mean, it’s only world peace. No biggie. Much worse to steal a TV.
Cotton made yet another foolish move last Thursday when he pushed to try to force a vote on his amendment, which if history is any indication (see North Korea and then President G.W.Bush) would have killed the nuclear talks all together. Not only is Cotton’s move is set to backfire on Rubio’s amendment to force Iran to recognize Israel’s statehood, which could have been a notch in his foreign policy belt, and killing Cruz’s amendment that any nuclear deal be approved by Congress (this amendment should have been a clue to Cotton re: the Constitution), but he also managed to alienate the Democrats who were on board to sabotage the President’s nuclear talks.
Cotton is the Senator who humiliated himself by getting both the Constitution and geography wrong in the same interview when he revealed that he didn’t know that Tehran was the Capital of Iran, after he committed a grievous error in authoring the 47 traitors letter to Iran.
Who doesn’t love a bull in the china shop when it comes to nuclear deals?
The Republicans are being trolled by one of their own, again. And he apparently remains clueless. Everett reported:
After he forced his and Rubio’s issues, Cotton sat at a party lunch among many of his Republican colleagues as they learned they may have lost their chance to get votes on their amendments.
“I think that he understands now the full impact of what has occurred,” Corker said of Cotton.
Lesson learned. Okay. Oh, wait…
Caroline Rabbitt, a spokeswoman for Cotton, said the Arkansas freshman was simply using his parliamentary tactics to fight for a “stronger bill.” And she said Cotton hasn’t admitted defeat in seeking votes on his and Rubio’s proposals.
Live by the Republican mantra of never say you’re sorry or wrong, die by the same.
Cotton’s tactics served to force some wayward Democrats back to their side of the aisle and kill a needed win for Rubio, as well as Cruz, though let’s face it, hardly anyone in the Republican Party is rooting for Ted Cruz. But best of all, Cotton’s arrogance and cluelessness are set to backfire on the amendments that would have killed the nuclear deal.

Todd Lets Boehner Tell Blatant Obamacare Lies On Meet The Press

todd boehnerNBC’s Chuck Todd continued to be the Republican Party’s best friend by letting John Boehner tell two gigantic lies about the ACA on Meet The Press.
Chuck Todd confronted Boehner about his wrong Obamacare predictions that fewer people would have health care under the ACA and that Obamacare would kill jobs.
Boehner replied, “Obamacare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands and as a result you’re going to have more employees because businesses have to. But you can ask any employer in America and ask them if Obamacare has made it harder to hire employees because it’s a fact. Um, yeah. Do you know why there’re more people insured? Because a lot more people are on Medicaid, and you know giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing. Because there aren’t, you can’t find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients, and so where do they end up? In the same place, they used to end up, in the emergency room.”
Todd weakly asked, “So you don’t see Obamacare as good for the country?”
If Chuck Todd had done even the most basic research, he would have known that Speaker Boehner was lying. Boehner’s claim that the numbers of insured Americans is so high because of the Medicaid expansion alone was false. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found, “The survey finds that nearly six in ten of those now covered by Exchange plans were uninsured prior to signing up. The previously uninsured are one of the groups most likely to believe they have benefited from the ACA, and seven in ten of them say they would not have gotten coverage without the law.”
Boehner’s other claim that employers all say that Obamacare has made hiring more difficult was also not true. A poll by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) that surveyed four sectors of the economy found that seventy-five percent of business owners said that the ACA has not impacted their hiring practices. An additional 85% said that they didn’t expect the ACA to impact their hiring practices in the future.
NBC’s Chuck Todd should not have let Speaker Boehner put these lies out there unchallenged. Todd’s lay down and die brand of journalism is the reason so many Americans don’t trust the mainstream press and don’t bother to tune into the Sunday morning shows.
John Boehner can’t defend his desire to repeal Obamacare, so he had to lie in order to justify taking away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. Chuck Todd does not believe that he has a responsibility to call out wingnut lies, and his willingness to let Boehner’s lies slide typify his consistent enabling of Republican falsehoods.

Thirty-five Years of Wingnut Failed Policies Contributed to Violence In Baltimore

For those who observe, report, and comment on how America’s dysfunctional politicians impact government and society, it was evident that before too long conservatives would come out swinging and lay blame for the social dysfunction, police brutality against people of color, and the subsequent violent response in Baltimore at the feet of liberals. Obviously, out-of-control police brutality and deliberate contrivance created the violent response in Baltimore;  that is another article. However, after Speaker of the House John Boehner blamedbad schools” and “fifty years of liberal policies” for police violence against inner-city Americans suffering  thirty years of anti-government conservative rule, it is necessary to expose Republican lies.
Following closely on Boehner’s heels, Ayn Rand devotee Paul Ryan weighed in on the reason for violence in Baltimore and used it to continue his push to eliminate federal anti-poverty programs. He claims government is preventing hard-working Americans earning poverty wages from achieving the American dream and joining the Koch brothers and Mitt Romney in the one-percenters’ club. The problem with the Republicans’ argument and lies, and there are many, is that statistics continue to prove that conservative anti-government policies over the past thirty-five years have driven income inequality and degraded society and are every bit as responsible for the events in Baltimore as out-of-control police violence against African Americans.
Over the past few years, there have been a preponderance of reports and studies revealing that America is near the bottom of industrialized countries in every category except military spending. It does not matter if it is infrastructure, wages, children living in poverty, the vanishing middle class, or the overall health and welfare of Americans, this pathetic extremely wealthy nation is lagging behind every industrial nation on Earth. Now, according to a recent report on America’s overall health by the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IM); “On nearly all indicators of mortality, survival and life expectancy, the United States ranks at or near the bottom among high-income countries.” This is particularly astonishing because America was once the world leader before conservative policies began destroying America.
The report reveals that it is just not that America is near the bottom of industrialized nations in nearly every category, but how “stunningly fast the United States has lost ground” when it was a world leader just thirty-five years ago.  Americans old enough to remember will realize that what changed was Ronald Reagan and Republicans convincing Americans that government was their mortal enemy and that cutting it down to size to give the richest Americans the nation’s wealth was the godly path to prosperity. As the NRC and IM report reveal, this nation’s decline began thirty five years ago when Republicans declared war on the federal government and imposed their trickle down scam on America.
A sampling of the report’s findings are that thirty-five years ago, infants born in America had a mortality rate equal to Germany; now American babies die at twice the rate of those in Germany. Also, thirty-five years ago, America was 13th in life expectancy for girls among the 34 recognized industrial societies; today America is 29th out of the same 34 countries. The percentage of American children living in “dire poverty” is second (and climbing) among industrialized nations, and the incarceration rate is three times what it was thirty-five years ago; it is five times that of all other wealthy democracies. Economic researchers at the University of Chicago, MIT, and the University of Southern California conducted exhaustive research to discover why American children are dying at “a rate exponentially higher” than their European counterpart and concluded that like every other category of America’s decline;  it is due to “staggering rates of income disparity stemming directly from the 1980’s  Era of Ronald Reagan and the beginning of the resurgence of the conservative movement.” Boehner is a liar and he knows he is lying and pushing conservative failures as the solution to violence in Baltimore.
According to a New York Times article reporting on America’s decline, it is conservative policies “over the last four decades that are responsible for the unique failure of government to stop the stagnation of the middle class, increasing poverty, and the precipitous decline in our collective health.” It is not, as some conservative economists are wont to claim, globalization and technological advances that damaged American society, wreaked havoc on the middle class, halted investment in infrastructure and education; it was conservative ideology eliminating government and everything it entails in providing support for Americans.
For thirty-five years and continuing, conservatives (Republicans) pushed the idea that America is a welfare state, assistance to the working poor destroys productivity, and social programs like Social Security and Medicare are destroying the concept of what it means to be  American; something Paul Ryan preaches constantly. Despite being responsible for over three decades of decline, Republicans still claim that unfettering big business of tax liability and regulations, while eliminating social programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and abolishing anti-poverty programs will allow America to regain its world stature and create monumental wealth for all Americans.
Republicans are running in 2016 on the promise that growing already bloated corporate profits, slashing government programs, eliminating regulations, and cutting taxes for the rich will improve all Americans’ lives. It is Reagan’s promise that has sent the one-time world leader to the bottom and still, John Boehner claims the police-incited violence enraging poor Baltimore residents is due to fifty years of liberal policies.
The most offensive claim by Boehner is his attack on education; particularly since he created the Bush “No Child Left Behind” abomination to hasten the demise of public schools by defunding them into oblivion. Plus, Boehner benefitted from the same education system conservatives want to destroy and one where educators did not have to deal with the severe economic inequities plaguing and adversely affecting a very large segment of the population. His solution is making the system less-equitable by issuing coupons under the guise of “school choice.”
There are many reasons for the violence in Baltimore, and like Ferguson, it is certainly due to unprovoked police violence against people of color. However, it is also because Americans are angry that for the past thirty-five years they have suffered under conservative economic policies that inordinately affect hard-working Americans; especially those in inner cities and people of color. Boehner and Republicans can claim liberal policies are responsible for Americans’ problems, including violence in Baltimore, but report after study after comprehensive research specifically point to Reagan-era anti-government economics and the resurgence of the conservative movement; and they can back up the research with empirical data. The only reasonable conclusion is that as usual, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Republicans in general are liars who share responsibility for the violence in Baltimore with out-of-control police.

Scott Walker Says He Would Crush What’s Left Of Unions If Elected President

Governor Scott Walker says he would push federal versions of the controversial anti-labor laws he has signed in Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan Tries To Use Baltimore Riots As An Excuse To Take Food Away From Poor People

paul ryan face the nationPaul Ryan (R-WI) is trying to use the Baltimore riots as an excuse to take away food and housing from poor adults and children.
During an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation, Ryan dressed up his Ayn Rand fantasies of starving the poor as economic opportunity.
It’s really not a more money thing. Spend the money we have more effectively. I think we need to do another round of welfare reform — not to save money, but to save lives. And so it’s not a function of pumping more money into the same failed system because we’ll just get the same failed result. It’s rethinking how we actually attack the root causes of poverty. All we do these days effectively is treat the symptoms of poverty.”
I would consolidate many of our federal poverty programs into flexible programs that go to our states to customize a welfare benefit for person’s particular need. Because what you do when you stack up all these poverty programs on top of each other, we have this thing called the poverty trap, where we’re actually disincentivizing a person from getting on with their life and going to work. It pays not to take a risk to take a job to go out an prove your life because of the benefits your lose.
As usual, Ryan completely avoided discussing what his plan actually does.
According to an analysis by the CPBB, Ryan’s plan would take food away from poor adults and children:

While Chairman Ryan describes the proposal as maintaining the same overall funding as the current system for each participating state, that would be a practical impossibility. His proposal would convert the nation’s basic food assistance safety net — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps — from an entitlement that responds automatically to increased need into part of a sweeping block grant that gives each state fixed funding for the year and, thus, cannot respond in the same way. This would be a particularly serious problem when need rises, such as in recessions.


While Chairman Ryan says he’s driven by evidence and research, his plan would jeopardize basic nutrition assistance for poor children, which research has shown is highly effective not only in reducing child malnutrition, but also in improving children’s long-term prospects. A path-breaking recent study examined what occurred after food stamps gradually expanded nationwide in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It found that poor children with access to food stamps in early childhood (and whose mothers had access during pregnancy) had an 18-percentage-point higher high school graduation rate — and were less likely as adults to have stunted growth or heart disease or to be obese — than comparable children who lacked access to food stamps because their counties hadn’t yet implemented the program. By eliminating poor families’ entitlement to SNAP and placing funds for basic food assistance at risk of being diverted, the Ryan plan would jeopardize these crucial gains.
In other words, Paul Ryan is trying to use the Baltimore riots as an excuse to cut poor people’s access to food all across the country. In Ryan’s view, the best way to create “opportunities” for those who have the least is to create an unstable survival situation for them. Ryan relied on that old Republican myth that poor people don’t want to work to support his plan. In fact, poor people do want to work. There are tens of millions of Americans who go to work, but are still poor. Getting a job isn’t a cure-all. People need good paying jobs.
Paul Ryan’s solution isn’t really a solution at all. Ryan is dressing up more Ayn Rand fiction and trying to pass it off as public policy.
The Republican “idea man” has once again come up empty.

Republicans In Congress Take Aim At The National Housing Trust Fund

Republicans want to stop putting money into the one fund meant to help the neediest Americans.

Sam Brownback Gets a Side of Comeuppance for Lunch

Being a waitress is not easy. Between the low pay and rude customers it’s a moment-by-moment test of patience. The opportunities to speak your mind (and keep your job) are few and far between. But one such opportunity presented itself Sunday when Kansas Governor Sam Brownback walked into Boss Hawg’s Barbeque in Topeka (not making that up).
Chloe Hough happened to be working her last shift at BHBBQ and responded in true carpe diem fashion once she realized she was waiting on her state’s chief executive.
Now Hough could have aired a number of grievances. Brownback has darn near governed the Sunflower State into the ground. Between his attacks on the poor and the LGBT community, it’s little wonder he’s drawn the attention of Jon Stewart on more than occasion.
So Hough had her moment and…she showed the governor a thing or two about empathy. She handed Brownback his receipt and on it she wrote “tip the schools” in the tip line.
According to KSNT News, Hough said, “I just knew I had to say something or I would regret it.”
Well done, Chloe.

Oops: Carly Fiorina Forgot To Register Her Domain Name

Oops: Carly Fiorina Forgot To Register Her Domain NameHer candidacy for president has already run across a snag as carlyfiorina.org is now showing off how she nearly destroyed Hewlett Packard.

Republicans Admit Hobby Lobby Ruling Is Religious Tyranny Meant to Control Women

It is fairly well known that part and parcel of the Christian religion is providing men scriptural cover to control women. It does not matter if it is prohibiting women from praying when men are present, disallowing them from questioning a man, telling women to be obedient to their husbands, or that they were created in subjection to a man; control is control and in the bible women are veritable property of their husbands and subservient to men. Republicans subscribe to that obscene concept as a matter of course, and to drive the point home the conservative Supreme Court gave religious male employers power to control women by restricting their reproductive health choices.
Before, during, and after the Vatican-5 ruled that religious employers had the scriptural right to deny their female employees access to contraception, Republicans and their evangelical base lied and claimed their only goal was religious freedom to withhold health plans that included contraception coverage. That assertion was always a filthy lie and many pundits warned that was the case. On Thursday last late in the day, religious Republicans finally admitted that the Hobby Lobby ruling gave evangelical employers what they wanted all along; power to control women. Specifically, power to control whether they use contraception, participate in family planning, or have an abortion under any circumstances.
Republicans claim their abominable legislation overturning a Washington D.C. anti-discrimination statute that prohibited religious employers from punishing women who use birth control, family planning services, or abortion services was to protect employers’ religious liberty according to the Hobby Lobby ruling. However, they revealed the legislation is about using religious tyranny to control women because the D.C. council included a provision in the law, according to Hobby Lobby, reiterating that religious organizations do not have to provide health insurance coverage for contraception or abortions. Religious Republicans said that is not nearly enough and struck down the D.C. law “prohibiting employers from discriminating or retaliating against workers, their spouses, or their dependents for obtaining contraception, family planning, or having abortions.” According to the sponsor of the religious tyranny legislation, Representative Diane Black (R-TN), the anti-discrimination law “is contrary to the federal statute.” The High Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling simply gave religious employers biblical cover to withhold contraception coverage in health insurance prescription plans; not the right to violate an employee’s privacy or discriminate and punish them for using contraception or family planning.
As the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said, “This bill makes it open season for bosses to dig into their employees’ reproductive health practices and fire women for taking birth control or having an abortion.” Democrats also understand the implications to workers as well as the Republican motivation behind the religious tyranny legislation. Democrats warned that Washington D.C. “workers would be fired and face retribution for their personal healthcare choices” that, again, is the only purpose of the legislation as an extension of the Hobby Lobby decision. As many political pundits warned when the Hobby Lobby decision was announced, religious freedom had nothing to do with it, contraception had nothing to do with it, and employers providing contraception coverage in health plans had nothing to do with it. It was always about religious tyranny and like the groups behind the push for the Hobby Lobby lawsuit, it was only about controlling women. It is also about invading women’s privacy to gain ultimate control over every aspect of their personal lives.
This legislation is also a gross violation of federal HIPPA Privacy Rules put in place specifically to protect an individual’s medical records and “other personal health information;” including their personal health plans and who their health care providers are.  HIPPA laws were enacted to give patients sole rights over their personal health information, including the right to examine their health records, but it does not include their employers. The Republican legislation allows employers to invade the privacy of their employees by demanding information about their, their spouses, and dependents personal health choices or face retribution for non-compliance; something the religious right lusted for long before Hobby Lobby.
That the religious right intended to gain ultimate control over women in Hobby Lobby was never in question, and Republicans dutifully served the interests of the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, and the National Right To Life Committee demanding the religious legislation. Two powerful conservative groups, the Republican Study Committee and the Freedom Caucus, also pushed the Republican House leadership to pass the legislation. The groups asserted that if Republicans did not act, employers would be forced to hire, or keep in place, an employee who held beliefs that did not comply with their beliefs and therefore be uncontrollable.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put the legislation’s intent in the proper perspective. She said, “Allowing employers to fire employees for using birth control, in vitro fertilization, or any other reproductive health care service is an unconscionable intrusion into workers’ personal lives. House Republicans would even allow employers to fire employees for the reproductive health decisions that their employees’ spouses and dependents make.” Pelosi did not include that the legislation was an unconscionable religious intrusion, but she was right; Republicans want employers to exert control over far more than their employees and it is a sign of what it is store for American women regardless if their employers are religious tyrants or not.
According to Republicans, not allowing religious employers to tyrannize and control their employees is part of the “continued attack on religion and a person’s 1st Amendment right of freedom of belief;” belief in religious control over women. It is noteworthy that despite the Hobby Lobby lawsuit and ruling allegedly being about religious freedom to withhold contraception in employer-provided healthcare prescription plans, Republicans now say it is really about controlling a woman’s access to any reproductive services and the right to invade their privacy to impose “religious freedoms” on a larger segment of the population. It is also, as several ‘license to discriminate’ laws in two dozen Republican states reveal, about imposing religious tyranny on the gay community.
What is stunning, and frankly disappointing, is that men are not taking to the streets and storming the halls of Congress to demand an end to this unending Republican religious assault on their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters under the guise of some tyrannical evangelical’s religious freedom. It is what the Hobby Lobby lawsuit and ruling by the Supreme Court’s Vatican-5  was about from the very beginning and Republicans made that very clear in passing religious tyranny legislation they said fulfilled ‘federal statute’ according to Hobby Lobby.

After Texas Shooting, American Muslims Defend Anti-Islam Group’s Right To Free Speech

Meet The Lunatic Fringe Wingnut Extremist Behind The Texas 'Draw Muhammad' Event

Meet The Right-Wing Extremist Behind The Texas 'Draw Muhammad' Event
If there's no reason to talk about Pamela Geller, she'll create one.

The Christian Religio-Wingnuts And Radical Islam Have More In Common With Each Other Than With Us

The Christian Right And Radical Islam Have More In Common With Each Other Than With Us (VIDEO)
The real war in America is not between christians and muslims, but wingnuts and progressives.

Police officers are going to trial in Freddie Gray's death. That doesn't mean they're going to prison.

by Amanda Taub
On May 1st, Baltimore City state's attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that six Baltimore police officers will face criminal charges - including second-degree murder and manslaughter - in the death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 19.
This is incredibly rare; many police misconduct cases never turn into criminal prosecutions. But even when police officers do get tried for misconduct, the outcomes look very different than they do when civilians are prosecuted.
The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project analyzed 3,238 criminal cases against police officers from April 2009 through December 2010. They found that only 33 percent were convicted. Furthermore, only 36 percent of officers who were convicted ended up serving prison sentences. Both of those are about half the rate at which members of the public are convicted or incarcerated.
Even when they did serve prison sentences, police officers generally got shorter sentences than the public did:
This isn't a fluke, it's the result of systemic biases in favor of police officers. As David Rudovsky, a civil rights lawyer who co-authored the book Prosecuting Misconduct: Law and Litigation, explained in an interview, juries have "a tendency to believe a police officer over a civilian, in terms of credibility."
That means that "when an officer is on trial, reasonable doubt has a lot of bite." The prosecutor's case needs to be very strong to convince a jury that an officer's behavior was egregious enough to be worthy of criminal punishment. Ordinary defendants, by contrast, enjoy no such advantage.
The charts above show the dramatic cumulative effect of that bias. Only a third of police officers who are charged with a crime ever get convicted. And of those, nearly two thirds are never incarcerated. That's very, very different from the outcomes for civilian defendants, who face strong odds of conviction and incarceration.

Washington state couple fined after getting hit by state patrolman's car

Washington state couple fined after getting hit by state patrolman's car

Video shows four parole officers detained by gun-wielding police for Driving While Black

Parole officers held by police (Screen Capture)
According to video obtained recently by a Rockland County newspaper, the Journal News, the police pointed their guns at the parole officers, who had aroused suspicions because they were black people wearing bulletproof vests.

Fox News Is Forced To Apologize After Completely False Baltimore Shooting Report

fox-news-nobody-shotFox News’s Shepard Smith was forced to apologize to viewers after a Fox News report that a Baltimore protester had been shot by police was proven to be completely false.
Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin claimed that he saw Baltimore Police shoot and kill a protester as he was running away.
The Baltimore Police tweeted:
Shep Smith, who seems to be Fox News’s dedicated apology guy, said:
Sounds like what happened is we screwed up. Mike Tobin thought he saw somebody get shot. And there was a gun and a patient on a stretcher and there is would a woman who said she saw the cop gun him down and there’s going to be violence and all the rest of that. And what we have is nothing. And the truth is, according to police, there is no gunshot victim.
I’m now in correction mode and we apparently were wrong,” Smith went on to say. “Unless there’s new information that comes forward, all the information now points to there was a guy running down the street, gun fell in the street, gun went off, guy was taken into custody. He complained that he was injured or something. They put him in an ambulance and, out of an abundance of caution, the police are now telling us, they took him to the hospital. Nobody has been shot. No police officer has pulled the trigger. And on behalf of Mike Tobin and the rest of our crew there and he rest of us at Fox News, I am very sorry for the error and glad we were able to correct it quickly.
The fact that the completely false Fox News report could have set off another riot should not be lost on anyone. Cable news rushes to stories and gets things wrong all of the time. The fact that Fox’s correspondent didn’t bother to verify what he thought he saw before he put it on live television is a real problem.
Fox News has demonstrated why they can’t and shouldn’t ever be trusted. Beyond their obvious bias, the fact is that Fox News has a history of getting things wrong. Fox doesn’t get any credit for quickly correcting their mistake because it was a mistake that never should have been made.