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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Bernie Sanders and 17 Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Use The Presidency To Help Workers

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 17 Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to use his executive powers to help American workers.
In a letter, Sanders wrote to the President:
The federal government continues to be America’s largest low-wage job creator, subsidizing poverty-level wages through taxpayer-funded contracts. We urge you to harness the power of the presidency to help workers.
Now is the time to declare that the federal government will invest our taxpayer dollars to incentivize model employers that commit to creating good jobs and to rebuilding America’s ailing middle class,” wrote the senators. The letter was sent to the president today.
Sen. Sanders and the Senate Democrats urged President Obama to boost the wages of federal contract worker to a living wage. The letter didn’t specify what wage they were seeking, but liberals, including Sen. Sanders, have suggested a living wage of $15/hour.
Seventeen Democratic senators signed on to the letter including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Martin Heinrich (N.M.).
The issue has the potential to be a big winner for President Obama and the Democratic Party. With this letter, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) reminded Democrats that he is an outspoken advocate for low-wage workers. Since the odds of the Republican-controlled Congress passing a minimum wage increase are exactly zero, Democrats are going to have to action where they can to help the country’s underpaid workers.
The contrast between Democrats and Republicans could not be clearer. While Republicans are trying to cut taxes for the wealthy, Democrats are pushing for higher wages. President Obama has an opportunity to do something important for a group of low-wage workers, and something tells me that his executive action pen will be wielded again.

Democrats Threaten To Kill The Patriot Act’s Domestic Spying Programs With Filibuster

Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans have unified around the common goal of killing some of the Patriot Act’s worst domestic spying programs with a filibuster.
Politico reported on the fact that key parts of the Patriot Act are set to expire with no deal in sight:
The prospects of a deal look grim: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night proposed just a two-month extension of expiring PATRIOT Act provisions to give the two sides more time to negotiate, but even that was immediately dismissed by critics of the program.
The Senate is stalemated. McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) want to prolong the authorities for 5½ years untouched. But libertarian-leaning Republicans and Democrats are threatening to let the authorities expire. Just extending them a few months faces long odds of clearing Congress before the break.
“I’m going to filibuster. I’m going to do everything it takes to block a short-term extension,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). He and Paul (R-Ky.) have threatened to filibuster any attempt to prolong the bulk collection program.
There is broad support for the USA Freedom Act, which is a bill of modest reforms, but McConnell and other spying hawks want a five and a half year extension of the full Patriot Act that is unlikely to happen.
Democrats and their Republican allies on this issue can win by doing nothing. They are never going to pass a two-month extension of the program, and they are definitely not going to pass McConnell’s plan.
The Patriot Act is one of the ugly living legacies of the post-9/11 Bush years. It is a horrible piece of civil liberties violating legislation that was hurriedly passed in the panic after 9/11. Some Republicans have already started to trot out the scare rhetoric of the terrorists coming to kill us all if the NSA loses its illegal data collection programs, but the tide has finally turned.
Most Americans are ready to put their liberties ahead of fear. Getting rid of some of the most egregious programs in the Patriot Act would not only restore freedom. It would also be the first steps towards removing another ugly stain that was left behind by the shrub.



Quick Hits

Rapper 'Killer Mike' To Bill Maher: O'Reilly's More Full Of Sh*t Than An Outhouse

The match game: Connect the oligarch to the GOP politician he owns

Ted Cruz by  DonkeyHotey
“Whether it’s the Koch brothers or Soros on the left or Sheldon,” former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently said, “if you’re going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class—which we now have—then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention.”

Paul Ryan Lies Through His Shiny White Teeth To Deny Republicans Gutted Amtrak

Featured image with Lyin' Paul Ryan: Composite | Video screen grabs/Fox | Heartfelt apologies to Alfred E. Neuman/Mad Magazine from Elisabeth Parker. Last Thursday, Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) went on Fox News to lie through his shiny white teeth about the Republicans’ role in the fatal Amtrak crash. And of course,...

Marco Rubio struggles to explain Iraq position

Dumber than Dubya


Wisconsin Republicans Pass Bill Banning Poor People From Buying Shellfish, Potatoes And Ketchup

From the "OK, now this is just plain silly" Department:
Image via Acme Style Blog
Wisconsin Republicans are following through with their plan to be the cruelest state in the nation when it comes to the way poor people are treated.

Scott’s Dire Shutdown Warnings Prove Republicans Will Stop At NOTHING To Block Access To Healthcare

Judge blasts Pennsylvania Republican sentenced to register as a sex offender

Judge (Shutterstock)
A Pennsylvania judge denounced a former local Republican Party leader on Friday while sentencing him to regularly register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Tennessee Republican who pressured mistress to have abortion votes to restrict them for other women

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (screenshot/Facebook)
DesJarlais admitted in court to pressuring a woman, with whom he was having an affair, and who was 24 years his junior, to have an abortion.
OK, like is any other kind

Republican Insanity

Jade Helm 15 and eight other Obama plots that keep the lunatic fringe up at night

Louie Gohmert during an interview on Fox Business (Screenshot)
Jade Helm 15 is just the latest in a litany of lunatic fringe conspiracy theories about President Obama planning a military takeover of the country. While none of the theories has ever actually panned out, lunatic fringe shrieking heads and agitators keep inventing new ones.

Republicans Work to Defund Studies So They Can Deny Climate Change

Lamar Smith While it may make sense logically that members of Congress would hold out on forming an opinion while waiting for evidence, it makes absolutely no sense that they would then work fervently to eliminate any means of getting that evidence -- unless of course they have no interest in the truth or evidence.

Oil Tycoon Tries To Get Scientists Who Found Link Between Drilling And Earthquakes Fired

Oil Tycoon Tries To Get Scientists Who Found Link Between Drilling And Earthquakes Fired
Billionaire is mad that scientists keep finding more evidence that his company is profiting from destroying the environment, tries to shut them up.

Duke Energy Pleads Guilty To Nine Environmental Crimes, Agrees To Pay $102 Million

The fine is a result of the utility company's years of dumping coal waste into North Carolina’s rivers.

Republicans Want The Pope To Stop Inserting Religion Into Politics

HYPOCRISY ALERT: Republicans Want The Pope To Stop Inserting Religion Into Politics
The party of “christian” values doesn’t want anyone else using religion in politics… that’s their game…

Religious Hate Group Forgets To Renew Domain Name ...

... Now It Redirects To Hardcore Gay Site
by Rowan Lee 
In a hilarious turn of events – hateful and homophobic pastor Randy Bryson of the Open Door baptist cult in Easley, South Carolina forgot to renew his hate-group’s website domain name. A gay rights activist saw an opportunity and snatched it – turning the tables completely upside-down on Bryson and company.
Bryson and his followers have a reputation for picketing gay-friendly events and college campuses – brandishing signs damning all “unclean” homosexuals straight to hell. Statements such as “FEAR GOD” and “AMERICA: GOD HATES YOUR SIN” bark out in black, white, and red in their clutched hands. Their website, WarningsofWrath.com, is featured on all of their signs and used to direct visitors to the church’s webpage. Now, visitors to the site are treated to a giant wall of hardcore gay site. The content features skinheads involved in obscene acts and more…
The anonymous activist had this to say about his move, “They condemned gays and rock music outside Carolina Rebellion…I bought the (expired) domain from their signs and pointed it at gay porn of people who probably like rock music. Fair?”
Fair indeed. The best part of the joke – wondering how long it took them to figure out what they were advertising – but we doubt many pay them mind anyway. Recent Gallup polls show 55% percent of America supporting gay marriage, with 8 in 10 young adults in favor of gay marriage alone. The times are changing; Bryson and flock now no more than a desperate and dying breed of intolerance.
Here is the before and after: