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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you ...!  
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Non Sequitur


Bernie Sanders’ Koch Killing Movement Grows To $4 Million Raised and 100,000 Contributors

Bernie sanders cnn state of the union
On CNN’s State Of The Union, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that his presidential campaign against corporate greed, the attempted Koch hostile takeover of the government, and income inequality has now raised over $4 million from 100,000 contributors.
Sanders was asked if he really had a pathway to victory.
Sen. Sanders answered:
I think there is more discontent with establishment politics, with the greed of corporate America than many people perceive. I think we have a good shot. I am not going to deny for one moment that I go into this race an underdog. Hillary Clinton will have a lot more money than we have. But let me say this, even in terms of money, we’ve been in this race for a couple of weeks, and we’ve raised over $4 million, because people are sending on average, not a million dollars, not ten thousand dollars. Forty-three dollars per contributor to berniesanders.com. We have now 100,000 contributions.
Sen. Sanders promised to hold a civil debate with former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, but he openly questioned whether the media would give them coverage if they focused on issues instead of tearing each other apart.
Bernie Sanders is not running a vanity campaign. Unlike many of those who are running for the Republican nomination, his candidacy is not a stunt that is being done for personal financial gain and publicity. Sanders is running because there is no other candidate that is expressing hardcore liberal positions.
Hillary Clinton has done a great job of getting in touch with where the majority of Democrats are on several key issues. Despite the grumbling from both media and Democratic circles, Hillary Clinton has run a really good early campaign, but Democrats deserve to have their choice of candidates for the party’s nomination.
At one level, Sanders is offering voters another option. As one looks deeper, it is clear that Sen. Sanders is effectively tapping a deep well of discontent among voters. Voters are outraged about the Citizens United enabled billionaire takeover of the federal government. People are feeling and seeing the impact of income inequality in their daily lives. The ladder of economic advancement has been taken away from most Americans.
The media is focused on Sanders versus Clinton, but the real people who should be worried about the success of the Bernie Sanders campaign are the Koch brothers and other billionaires. What Sanders has launched is a populist Koch killing campaign, and forces are mobilizing behind the Senator from Vermont to take their country back from the billionaire class.

Sanders Smacks Down CNN Host For Demanding Food Fight Between Him And Clinton

Sanders Smacks Down CNN Host For Demanding Food Fight Between Him And ClintonSenator Bernie Sanders let CNN's Brianna Keilar have it for her continual demands that Sanders throw some "sharp elbows" at his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton.

Republicans In Retreat As Wingnuts Donated Millions To The Clinton Foundation

Republicans made a big deal out of George Stephanopoulos’s donations to the Clinton Foundation, but an examination of the list of donors reveals that wingnuts have donated millions of dollars to the charitable organization.
An examination of the Clinton Foundation’s donations from media companies by Politico revealed that wingnut media donated millions to the charity.
Newsmax Media was listed as a donor in the 1,000,000-$5,000,000 range. News Corporation Foundation, the arm of Fox News’s former parent company, has donated $500,000-$1,000,000. Conservative billionaire and Clinton political enemy, Richard Mellon-Scaife has donated $250,000-$500,000.
George Stephanopoulos should have disclosed his donations to the Clinton Foundation on the air, but if Republicans are hoping to parlay the ABC anchor’s mistake into a revival of a scandal involving the Foundation, they are going to be sorely disappointed.
The Republican attempt to turn the Clinton Foundation into some shady pay to play scandal was undercut by the fact that conservative media also donated to the organization. In fact, The Washington Post investigated the claims in Clinton Cash even though they also have given to the Foundation.
The idea that the Clinton Foundation can be turned into a major partisan scandal has been dealt a death blow. Fox News continues to try to build something out of nothing even though their former parent company has made large donations, and their owner’s liberal son (James Murdoch) has also donated millions of dollars.
There is no smoke, no fire, and no scandal. The Clinton Foundation is a non-partisan NGO, not a political organization. The Republican attempts to bring down a global charity for partisan political gain have been undone by their own wingnuts.

DNC Chair Hits Jeb On Apple Watch ...

Scott Walker Dissolves Into Gibberish When Asked About His Foreign Policy Credentials

Scott Walker melted down into a pile of nonsensical gibberish when asked about his foreign policy credentials ...

The Truth Be Told


There's Reality ...

There's Reality ...
Cory Booker: Amtrak crash shows US needs more infrastructure spending
... And then there's this clown
Paul Ryan says Amtrak spending cuts not to blame in Philadelphia crash

Paul Ryan Lies About Amtrak While Pledging No Republican Infrastructure Funding

paul-ryanSometimes an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally and results in damage and injury may technically be considered an accident unless the incident could have been prevented. By now it is relatively certain that the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that claimed the lives of eight passengers could have been avoided if Congress had provided the necessary funding to rail carriers commiserate with the mandate to install the Positive Train Control (PTC) feature that would have saved eight lives. Congressional Republicans have not taken any responsibility for their contribution to the deadly derailment or taken any steps to adequately provide funding to ensure the safety of other American travelers whether it is on trains, planes, or automobiles. According to Republicans,  America’s transportation infrastructure just does not warrant investment any more than schools, hospitals, electrical grids, or waterways because as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan claims Republican focus is on saving more money and lying about providing safe rail service for Americans.
Exactly a day after Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted in concert to cut about one-fifth of Amtrak’s budget from $1.4 to $1.1 billion for 2016, Paul Ryan did what Republicans do according to their shared party pathology; he lied. Ryan emphatically told Fox News on Wednesday after the Amtrak derailment that, yes, Republicans in Congress had already fully funded implementation of the Positive Train Control safety system it mandated in 2008. Instead of acknowledging that as an austerity-minded Republican his only priority and primary goal for serving in the House is cutting infrastructure spending, Ryan warned that Congress is in no way going to “rush to judgment and try doubling the size of government programs” just because some people died in an accident he said was caused by “human error.”
Ryan asserted that Republicans had already “authorized and mandated the sort of speed control systems to be put in place,” even though he admitted “it wasn’t put in place here at this time” or that it was not in place due to Republican austerity. When Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Ryan whether Congress had actually funded those systems, Ryan lied and responded, “Yes! Yeah, we already passed Amtrak funding, and the appropriations process is working its way through right now.” What Ryan failed to mention is that Republicans passed cuts to Amtrak’s funding for next year and that the appropriation was well below Amtrak’s request which specifically included an allotment to fully implement PTC.  In fact, the Republicans’ latest Amtrak funding cuts are well below the past several years’ funding levels. If at any time over the past few years Congress had appropriated the necessary funds to install PTC across the country, there would have been no necessity for the Senate bill filed a couple of weeks ago authorizing a five year delay of the mandatory PTC implementation deadline from December 2015 to 2020.
Not only did Congress not appropriate funding to complete the PTC implementation by this year or by 2020, according to Ryan Republicans have no intent to fund any infrastructure improvements either now or in the future. The Ayn Rand devotee said he hoped “cooler heads can prevail and that people won’t seize on political opportunities out of tragedies like this to spend any more money.” It was an incredibly telling statement, and a portent of more Republican-made disasters, that when Ryan was asked whether he thought rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be a priority he said no. In fact, he acknowledged that yes, the Highway Trust Fund will be bankrupt later this month, but that he will not back increases for infrastructure improvement to “save more money and be more efficient.”
Now Amtrak is reporting that the train that derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday was equipped with the automatic speed control system (PTC) that would have prevented the deadly derailment. However, although rail officials said the system “was tantalizingly close to being operational,” they admitted that implementation was delayed by budgetary shortfalls, technical hurdles, and bureaucratic rules in dealing with private airwave carriers. Republicans have failed to report that the day after the fatal crash congressional staff members were briefed and learned that “The transponders were on the tracks, but they weren’t operational because of this ongoing spectrum issue.”
Republicans in Congress have consistently failed to provide the railroads with crucial funding or access to the wireless frequencies required to make the PTC system operational. The Republicans’ loyalty to privatization of the airwaves forced Amtrak to spend years negotiating for access to airwaves owned by private corporations that has resulted in a four-year losing battle to pay for the right to access the necessary airwaves in the Northeast Corridor that would allow them to turn the system on. Rail officials confirmed that Amtrak had made installation of the congressionally-mandated safety system a top priority and was ahead of most other railroads around the country. Like everything with Republicans, it is always a lack of adequate funding and in the case of the deadly derailment, it was funding and access to airwaves from private broadband carriers Republicans protect.
As noted above, Republicans are opposed to appropriating any funding for infrastructure while they demand tax cuts for the rich according to Ryan and Republicans’ plan to “save more money and be more efficient” and it is not a new policy.  In 2011 “every Senate Republican voted to filibuster and blocked President Obama’s American Jobs Act (AJA) that included appropriating $2 billion to fund repairs and renovation for Amtrak.” The President’s $447 billion jobs act proposed creating hundreds-of-thousands of new jobs, and particular to this topic was the desperately-needed “large scale investment” in rebuilding and repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. In truth, the $447 billion is really a small-scale investment according to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ estimate that about $3 trillion is required to get America’s infrastructure close to a point where the United States can be competitive with the rest of the industrialized world.
As commented on Thursday, “Under Subtitle E, Section 241 titled “Immediate Transportation Infrastructure Investments,” the American Jobs Act featured this nugget for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, also known as Amtrak. In Subsection (e) the AJA makes available $2 billion to Amtrak for the repair, rehabilitation, and upgrade of Amtrak’s assets and infrastructure, including rolling stock.” That $2 billion would have went a long way toward implementing the 2008 Train Safety Act’s mandate that ‘Positive Train Control’ be installed and operational on all passenger and freight trains by the end of 2015; including buying access to private corporations’ wireless networks. The Senate just voted to extend the deadline for PTC implementation about two weeks prior to the Philadelphia derailment and prior to Republicans slashing Amtrak funding by about one-fifth.
Regardless the number of lies from Republicans or Paul Ryan that they have provided funding to complete PTC, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has twice sought extra funding from Congress to finance the PTC technology for Amtrak and other commuter rails. The FRA’s first request for $825 million was ignored, and a second request for extra funding was made just this year for the 2016 budget as part of the Department of Transportation’s Grow America budget. House Republicans not only ignored the second request again this past week, they cut total Amtrak funding guaranteeing Amtrak will not be able to implement the train safety feature in the next fiscal year.
The former administrator for the FRA, Joseph C. Szabo, said; “Clearly, one of the hurdles that Amtrak has and the commuter rail industry has is that this very expensive technology was never funded. The failure to invest in Amtrak’s capital program clearly has been a hindrance in more timely deployment. The way to make public rail a priority would be with public funding.” However, part and parcel of the Republican withholding adequately funding for Amtrak, or any public transportation, is to bankrupt it into oblivion for privatization. There is little doubt the impending wrongful death lawsuits will hasten the financial demise of Amtrak. That human beings perished to achieve their privatization goal is as inconsequential to Republicans as withholding healthcare and food from hungry Americans that according to Republicans like Paul Ryan is crucial to “saving more money” for tax cuts for the rich.

America, Home Of The Brave


Texas Democrats Stall, Run Out The Clock On Republican Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

A Republican effort to pass a bill that would prohibit government employees from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Texas failed to come to a vote, as Texas Democrats successfully ran out the clock on Friday. Republicans had until midnight Friday to pass the bill, which had nearly unanimous GOP support in the Republican-controlled chamber. However, Democrats stalled by engaging in long debates over noncontroversial pieces of legislation, and by introducing measures sure to be voted down, like raising the state’s minimum wage.
The anti-gay marriage bill’s sponsor Cecil Bell (R-Montgomery County) expressed frustration that the GOP had been outmaneuvered by the Democratic minority. Bell complained, ”there was a bunch of folks who don’t think that state sovereignty is a high priority”. Democratic Rep. Celia Israel (North Austin/Pflugerville) offered a different perspective from Bell’s. She exclaimed:
We’re sending a message to Texas that this is worth fighting for. We’re not in the majority. We don’t control the ship. But we can help to steer it in the right direction.
This is not the first time Texas Republicans have been defeated by a passionate Democratic minority in the Lone Star State.  In June 2013, State Senator Wendy Davis (Fort Worth) led a successful Democratic filibuster of anti-abortion legislation in the state’s upper chamber, running out the Senate clock, and forcing Republicans to regroup in order to push through anti-abortion legislation in a later session. Davis’ long floor speech captured national attention and caused the GOP some embarrassment.
As time expired on the anti-gay marriage bill Friday, more than 20 pieces of legislation were still stacked ahead of Bell’s bill. The Democrats had placed enough procedural hurdles in the way to prevent the GOP bill from coming to a floor vote.
Although the Texas legislature is dominated by Republicans, Lone Star state Democrats continue to fight for the rights of everyday Texans. Those Democrats are determined to stand up and fight, using whatever legal means possible to ensure that LGBT Texans are not denied the right to marry the person they love.

Republicans Rally Behind State ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws

The Republican National Committee has endorsed state legislation that has been used to justify anti-LGBT discrimination.

'LGBT rights are human rights'

'LGBT rights are human rights,' Obama says

Neil Cavuto Lashes Out At President Obama For Telling The Truth About Fox

Neil Cavuto Lashes Out At President Obama For Telling The Truth About FoxSomeone needs to tell Fox's Neil Cavuto he should leave the comedy to the comedians.

Republicans Forced To Admit That Obama Approved Raid On ISIL Was Successful

Republicans like McConnell (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have been forced to admit on the Sunday shows that the Obama approved raid on ISIL in Syria has been successful.
On ABC’s This Week, McConnell said, “Well, the president has done a good job with these special operations type missions. Where I think the administration has fallen down is they tend not to favor, generally speaking, capture and interrogation. Although it’s good that the wife of this terrorist was captured and will be interrogated. I’ve been distressed, for example, about the willingness to release prisoners at Guantanamo. Look, this is not a criminal type matter. This is a defense matter. What you want to do is you want to capture people, you want to interrogate them, and you want to try to prevent the next atrocity. I wish we’d had, you know, frankly, more emphasis on capturing, detaining and interrogation than on strikes. Although the strikes are important, and I congratulate those who carried it out. It sounds like it was a very successful mission.”
Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on Fox News Sunday, “For now, let’s just say it was a successful raid, and it’s good news. Obviously, anytime you can take away and degrade top leadership of an organization it’s a positive step forward….It remains a risk, but obviously we want to congratulate the men and women in uniform who carried it out and the President for undertaking the mission.”
McConnell and Rubio are two of the Republicans who tried to sabotage President Obama’s foreign policy with their letter to Iran, so for Republicans to not only admit the mission was a success, but also praise the president is something that has been virtually unseen during the Obama presidency.
Reports are that the US raid in Syria has killed 32 ISIS members including four leaders. The symbolic message that the raid sends is that terrorists are not safe anywhere on this Earth. It takes an unspeakable amount of leadership for the President to authorize a mission where special operations forces are going into a territory where they have no allies on the ground.
The courage showed by those who carried out the mission is immeasurable, but they wouldn’t have been there if Obama would not have approved the mission. As much as it must drive Republicans crazy, even they are admitting that President Obama has been successful.

Idiot Republican: Obama Must Officially 'Declare War On The Concept Of Terror'

Last month, Ohio Republican Bill Johnson stopped by “The Tom Roten Morning Show,” where he said that just as many did not grasp the Nazi threat in the run-up to World War II, the Obama administration is ignoring the dangers posed by terrorist groups today. The idiot’s so... MORE

Jeb Bush’s Brother Created ISIL

The responsibility of who fomented the rise of the Islamic State therefore falls on the shoulders of many actors, both American and Middle Eastern. 

Sorry. Iraq Wasn’t a Good Faith Mistake ...

Guns, Guns, Guns: How States Like Georgia Make Cop Killing Easy

by Cliff Schecter
The felon who killed NYPD officer Brian Moore got his illegal gun from a state that has become a de facto exporter of crime weapons.
Last week, our society once again paid the price in blood for a government run by the galactically stupid and ideologically inept.
In New York, a police officer died. While a tragedy, that is not the story here. It's why this 25-year old member of the NYPD, Brian Moore, lost his life in a hail of bullets a week ago. It is once again a story about those of us living in the 21st century, suffering due to the actions of those bathing in a sea of branded myth and intellectual decay. Or as it's known in common parlance: Georgia.
Last year, when I first started writing this column, I covered the many foibles, distortions and atavistic tics of those who would seek to put guns in nursery schools, bars and cults, and give Stand Your Ground rights to felons. But you gotta give credit to Georgia legislators, for whom it takes a lot more than legal precedent, common sense and the opposition of constituents and law enforcement to prevail upon them to do something rash, like preventing people from getting shot. As dog is their witness, they'll never go hungry for bullets again!
The problem is that decisions made by pencil-dick provincial legislators in one state affect the health and safety of those living in every other contiguous state, which is where we now find ourselves. In New York City, a city in a state that chooses not to hand over policy to those with the cognitive capacity of a worn-out whoopee cushion, 90 percent of guns recovered from crimes come from out of state..
New York, you see, is among the states that have common-sense background checks to prevent felons, domestic abusers and the mentally incapable from getting guns—states that don't think it should be harder to get birth control than an assault rifle. Georgia, on the other hand, exported two times the national average of guns used in crimes. Guess which of these models for gun regulation leads to 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed?
We know that the firearm that led to Moore's murder, a .38-caliber revolver, was stolen from a gun store in Georgia in 2011.
I'll give you some time, especially if your name is John Lott.
So what do we know? We know Officer Moore was killed by a violent felon (attempted murder charge and nine arrests, two for assaulting police officers) not allowed to possess a firearm. We know that the firearm that led to Moore's murder, a .38-caliber revolver, was stolen from a gun store in Georgia in 2011. We know that it was one of 23 guns stolen overall, nine of which ended up on the streets of New York in crime scenes. We know that in 2006 and 2009, Georgia was the leading exporter of crime guns to other states.
We know that Georgia is so concerned about the welfare of its citizens, that it not only doesn't require one to report lost or stolen guns, but it prohibits localities in the state from doing so (so much for right-wing talking points about "local control!"). We know the effect of this is to allow a vibrant gun-smuggling operation of "straw purchases" for people who can't have guns, very lucrative for dealers or others who lack a conscience but love to charge a premium. And we know that Georgia lacks universal background checks by design, so any loon, terrorist or person with an axe to grind can walk into a gun show or go online, and buy guns that possess military firepower.
Let your kids walk alone to a playground a mile away, we'll swoop in like jacked-up Kal-El and threaten to take them away. That also goes for people who say there are positive benefits from smoking pot. Clearly, the only response is to have someone resembling a Terminator T-800 Cyberdine Systems Model 101 with a badge kick through your door through your window and deprive you of a child. Wanna sell a gun to a psychopath and serial killer? Or kill someone else's kid by "accidentally" shooting through a wall? No worries! it's just how we roll.
So right around the time we celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the The Brady Campaign's Million Mom March on Washington, D.C., an officer died. He didn't have to die. It was a choice that legislators made. To make it that much easier for this to happen. In the words of a dolt of a Tennessee legislator, while adding guns to their state parks as a sop to the National Rifle Association, "an act of dog."
Dog seems to get a lot of help from pretzel-logic, bullshit wranglers, if you ask me.