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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Daily Drift

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President Obama’s Favorability Rating Jumps 4 Points To Highest Level Since 2013

According to a new poll, President Obama’s favorability rating has increased by four points to its highest level since 2013.
The new Gallup poll revealed that President Obama’s favorability rating remains on the rise. Obama’s favorability rating increased to 49% in March to 53% today. The President spent all of 2014 with a rating under 50%, and his current numbers are his highest since September 2013. Personal favorability is not the same as a job approval rating, but the President’s job approval ratings have also been steadily improving as the economy has continued to grow.
Independents are leading the surge in President Obama’s personal approval rating. Obama’s favorability rating has increased by five points (47% to 52%) since February. Obama’s favorability rating has also increased by four points (86% to 90%) with Democrats over the same period. The increase in support among Democrats suggests that the President has not been damaged by the disagreement within his party over trade.
Pundits and the media’s conventional wisdom suggest that President Obama’s job approval rating will be critical to the 2016 Democratic nominee’s chances of victory. This nugget of false knowledge was debunked when Obama cruised to reelection in 2012 as the press claimed that his job approval ratings meant that he was going to struggle.
Many voters support a candidate because of personal likability. During the 2012 election, Obama’s personal favorability ratings were always much higher than those of Mitt Romney. If President Obama maintains or grows his personal favorability rating, he will be a huge asset to the Democratic Party in 2016. Democrats will not make the same mistake that Al Gore made by keeping Bill Clinton on the bench in 2000. Gore’s decision was complicated by the Lewinsky scandal, but former President Clinton was incredibly popular, and might have been able to tilt the election to Al Gore if he had been more utilized on the campaign trail.
Despite numerous Republican attempts to create one, President Obama has no scandals. The scandal-free nature of his administration combined with a growing economy suggests that the stage is set for Obama’s favorability ratings to grow as his time in office winds down. This poll may reflect a political climate where voters aren’t looking for a change. If voters are satisfied with this president personally and professionally, it will only strengthen the Democratic case in 2016.

Jobless Claims In America Recently Reached 15-Year Low

Jobless Claims In America Recently Reached 15-Year Low (IMAGES)
Thanks, Obama! No seriously, thanks.
Read more

Nebraska Legislature Repeals Death Penalty With Enough Votes To Override Expected Veto

Nebraska Senator and Death Penalty Opponent Ernie Chambers.Nebraska’s unicameral legislature voted 32-15 to abolish the death penalty in the state on Wednesday. Stunningly, the bill not only passed, but it cleared the 30 vote threshold needed to override an anticipated veto from Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. Death penalty supporters attempted to filibuster the legislation, but the filibuster was ended by a decisive 34-14 vote cutting off debate. The legislature then passed the measure ending the death penalty, and replacing it with a maximum sentence of life in prison, on a 32-15 vote.
The vote in Nebraska’s nominally non-partisan legislature, brought anti-choice wingnuts and reform-oriented liberals together, in a united effort to end the death penalty in one of the nation’s most politically wingnut states. Senator Tammy Garrett (Bellevue) argued:
I’m pro-life from conception until when dog calls somebody home. I’m not going to quibble over innocent life versus those who are guilty for what they have done. This is a matter of conscience.
Senator Ernie Chambers (Omaha), an African-American lawmaker who was first elected to the Nebraska legislature in 1970, and who has fought tirelessly to end the death penalty for decades, said:
We got the state out of the killing business today.
Chambers also expressed confidence that lawmakers would stick to their positions and override the inevitable upcoming veto from Governor Ricketts.
The Nebraska legislature also voted to abolish the state’s death penalty in 1979, but then Governor Charles Thone (R) vetoed the bill, and Chambers was unable to round up the 30 votes needed to override the veto. It appears that this time, he has the votes to override a veto.
Given that the measure passed with just 32 votes, death penalty proponents can still cling to slim hopes that a handful of lawmakers will shift their votes and allow Governor Ricketts’ forthcoming veto to stand. Pro-death penalty lawmakers did not express optimism, however.  A disappointed Senator Jim Scheer (Norfolk) lamented:
I really think that people voted their conscience today. People’s consciences don’t change.
Nebraska, however, is changing. The deep red state made history on Wednesday. Senator Chambers remarked during the debate:
The record should be crystal clear on what it is we are doing, it is historic. We have the opportunity to take one small step for the legislature, a giant leap for civilization.
Provided the legislature holds firm and overrides the governor’s veto, it will actually be a giant leap for the state’s conservative legislature and one small step for civilization, towards abolishing the death penalty everywhere. Regardless of whether other states followed suit, what the Nebraska legislature did on Wednesday was indeed historic.

Grand jury returns indictment for all 6 Baltimore cops linked to death of Freddie Gray

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby talks to CNN's Don Lemon on May 2, 2015. [YouTube]
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Thursday that a grand jury has indicted all six officers involved in the arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray earlier this year.

Obama Calls Out Republican Climate Change Deniers For Endangering National Security

Obama coast guard
Republican climate change deniers got a dose of reality today, as President Obama told those who deny the science that they are endangering national security.
The President said:
And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.

As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations.

Now, I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real. And on a day like today, it’s hard to get too worried about it. There are folks who will equivocate. They’ll say, “You know, I’m not a scientist.” Well, I’m not either. But the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. Our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. Our military leaders — generals and admirals, active duty and retired — know it’s happening. Our homeland security professionals know it is happening. And our Coast Guard knows it’s happening.
And this is not just a problem for countries on the coasts, or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.

After all, isn’t that the true hallmark of leadership? When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action — to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
The President has repeatedly stressed during his time in office the importance of climate change, but the Republican Party has chosen to ignore science to keep their dirty energy donors happy.
Obama was correct. Climate change isn’t science fiction. It will be a global issue. Climate change will have to be dealt with sooner or later. The planet isn’t going to play along with the GOP’s science denial, and it is only a matter of time before the bill for our treatment of the planet will be impossible to ignore.

Obama Hammers Republicans For Betraying Their Country On Climate Change

Coast Guard Speech Obama
In the United States Code, under Title 10,892, Article 92; dereliction of duty applies to all branches of the US military when a member of the armed services willfully refuses to perform their duties, follow a given order, or deliberately incapacitates themselves in such a way they cannot perform their duties. It is likely that, save treason or sedition, there is no greater betrayal to one’s country than being guilty of dereliction of duty.
It was prescient, then, that when President Obama addressed graduates of the Coast Guard Academy and told them that “denying it (climate change), or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty and it undermines the readiness of our forces,” he was describing and referring to Republicans.
‎The President made the threat of global anthropogenic climate change the focus of his speech to Cadets as he should have considering they are “the first responders of the oceans.” He went on to say, “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act—and we need to act now… In Miami and Charleston, streets now flood at high tide. Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways, roads, railways and energy facilities are vulnerable.” The President said there will be “a rise in climate change refugees” and “increased competition for resources,” and to be ready to combat these threats, “I guarantee the Coast Guard will have to respond … you need to be ready.” It is why the President drove home the point that global warming “cannot be subject to the usual politics.”
The President’s remarks about the threat to national security from global climate change were echoed in 2012 by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel referenced a Pentagon survey that assessed the increasing vulnerability of its military installations to the effects of anthropogenic climate change. He cited the Hampton Roads region of Virginia as an example of an area that has both military bases and recurrent flooding, and noted that defense officials are frantically developing plans to address the certainty of sea-level rise in the next 20 years.
Hagel also rightly acknowledged Republican recalcitrance in even admitting that climate change exists, much less having even a passing interest or willingness to address it as the national security issue that everyone but Republicans admit is pressing. Hagel said, “Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning. Our armed forces must prepare for a future with a wide spectrum of possible threats, weighing risks and probabilities to ensure that we will continue to keep our country secure.”
The Pentagon certainly agrees with President Obama’s assessment of the threat to national security of the effects of climate change and heeded his call to action. Besides responding to Hagel’s pleas, several current and retired military commanders issued a call for Congress to invest more resources in preparing for increasing climate-related security risks. However, Republicans ignored the Pentagon’s requests and dutifully heeded the demands of the Koch brothers’ dirty energy cabal and instead of listening to military commanders, House Republicans cut spending in the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency budgets related to climate change and national security.
Just two weeks ago, led by notorious climate denier Lamar Smith (R-TX), the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved a bill slashing at least three hundred million dollars from NASA’s earth-science budget because “Earth science includes climate science.” Smith was very disgusted that President Obama’s NASA budget request favored earth sciences “at the expense of the other science divisions, especially “human and robotic space exploration;” so Republicans severely cut NASA’s Earth science funding.
What that means for the Pentagon and national security is that not only will climate studies be completely ignored; potentially useful defense data can never be collected. NASA’s administrator, Charles Bolden, issued a statement complaining that the bill “guts our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate.” And as the President noted in his address to academy graduates, it is necessary understanding to protect American national security and economic stability.
The Pentagon has, for several years now, noted that climate change is what it calls a “threat multiplier” driving instability around the world threatening America’s national interests and the military. There is real-world evidence that proves the Pentagon’s predictions have been playing out in especially sensitive parts of the world. In a speech earlier this year, the President linked climate stress to the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the civil war in Syria where severe droughts and the resulting food shortages were documented by experts as one of the “major instigators of each conflict.”
Indeed, in a fairly recent study by Maplecroft, a risk analysis firm, 32 countries were identified where climate change could “amplify” civil unrest, including China, India, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Philippines. At the rate the Western United States is being wracked by severe and historic droughts, the risk of severe food shortages or at least skyrocketing prices could easily lead to civil unrest among America’s poor and rapidly vanishing middle class. Hunger and thirst will overwhelm any sense of civil order when a population’s survival is at stake and America is not immune to civil unrest over basic human needs.
These Republican tactics of defunding and thwarting climate change’s effects are not, as former Defense Secretary Hagel claimed, just founded in politics and ideology. They are specific to the goals to increase the bottom line of corporations whose fossil fuels drive the global warming that is rapidly making the Earth less habitable and America less secure.
President Obama is not alone in ramping up the call to address the real and present danger to America’s national security from climate change. Secretary of State John Kerry just returned from an overseas trip and did not fail to address the absurdity of denying the threat of climate change to national security. Kerry said, “It’s time to put aside discredited scientific arguments and to focus on the facts, not just for our health and the health of our children, but for our planet’s security as well.”
In what is a weekly exercise by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Senate floor, he said, “Time and time again, we hear, ‘I’m not a scientist’ from politicians refusing to acknowledge the evidence. We’re not elected to be scientists. We’re elected to listen to them.” Members of Congress are also elected to listen to the men and women leading the military in the defense of the nation’s security at home and around the globe, but they do not. Their ears and attention are too laser-focused on their oil industry masters’ whims and demands and as the President said, it is a dereliction of duty and they are a threat to national security.

Everyone, Even Republican Voters, Think Republican Leaders In Congress Are Doing A Lousy Job

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell
A Pew Research Poll released on May 21, 2015, finds that Americans are unhappy with the Republican leadership in Congress. 72 percent of Americans disapprove of the job the current GOP leadership in Congress is doing, to just 22 percent who approve of their job performance.
Democrats and Independents are not the only ones discontent with the current Republican leadership in Congress. Even a majority of Republicans are unhappy with Boehner, McConnell and the other Republican leaders in the House and Senate. 55 percent of Republicans disapprove of their party’s Congressional leaders, to just 41 percent who view them favorably.
Congressional leaders are headed in the wrong direction with their popularity. In February of 2015, Republicans viewed their party leaders favorably (50-44), but since then, their support for Republican leadership has dropped 20 percentage points from a (+6) to a (-14) approve versus disapprove differential.
Naturally, Democrats and Independents are even more disappointed with the Republican leadership. Both groups give Republican leaders in Congress a dreadful approval rating. Only 12 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Independents think Republican leaders in Congress are doing a good job. 74 percent of Independents and a whopping 84 percent of Democrats disapprove of the GOP leadership in Congress.
Less than one in four voters think Republicans have followed through on their campaign promises. Only 37 percent of Republicans believe GOP leaders are keeping their campaign promises. Not only are voters disgusted with the Republican Congress, but they also think GOP leaders are liars.
While Republicans, Democrats and Independents all dislike the current Republican Congress, they are unhappy for different reasons. 75 percent of Republicans want the GOP Congress to adopt a more confrontational approach with President Obama. Democrats and Independents are more likely to take the position that the Republican Congress needs to go along with President Obama more often, rather than fighting him.
The bottom line is that very few Americans approve of the job Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and other Republican leaders are doing in Washington. That includes unhappy Republican voters, who are experiencing buyer’s remorse after finding that the GOP isn’t living up to their campaign promises. Perhaps in 2016, many of those dissatisfied Republicans will learn from their 2014 mistakes, and either switch sides or stay home on election day.

Bernie Sanders Blasts The Senate For Screwing Over Workers By Voting To Advance Trade Bill

In a fiery statement after the Senate voted to advance a bill that would give President Obama fast track trade authority, Sen. Bernie Sanders hammered the Senate for siding with corporations while harming American workers.
After the Senate had voted 62-38 to advance a bill that would give President Obama fast track authority on trade, Sanders said:
The Senate just put the interests of powerful multi-national corporations, drug companies and Wall Street ahead of the needs of American workers. If this disastrous trade agreement is approved, it will throw Americans out of work while companies continue moving operations and good-paying jobs to low-wage countries overseas.

Bad trade deals like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership are a major reason for the collapse of the American middle class and the increase in wealth and income inequality in the United States. This agreement, like bad trade deals before it, would force American workers to compete with desperate workers around the world – including workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is 56-cents an hour.

Trade agreements should not just work for corporate America, Wall Street, and the pharmaceutical industry. They have got to benefit the working families of our country,” Sanders said. “We must defeat fast track and develop a new policy on trade.
Michael Wessel, who has read parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, wrote that TPP opponents like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are right to be concerned about the trade deal. Blank checks should not be given to any president. It is a lesson that the nation should have learned after the invasion of Iraq, but history is repeating itself on TPP.
History demonstrates that trade deals work out well for corporations, while harming workers. The country can’t rebuild the middle-class while simultaneously cutting secret trade deals that prevent good middle-class jobs from being created. Sanders was correct. Sixty-two senators put corporate interests ahead of workers.
Sen. Sanders and the Democrats who voted no on moving the bill forward are the real champions for American workers.

Republicans Are Trying To Impeach Hillary Clinton Before She Can Win The White House

hillary clinton republican senators iran letter
Republicans are trying to stop Hillary Clinton from being elected as the next president by launching a “late impeachment” effort against the former Sec. of State who is no longer in office.
A PAC called Special Operations Speaks is trying to convince Republican members of Congress to impeach Hillary Clinton:
Special Operations Speaks PAC is calling on the United States Congress to impeach former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for “high crimes and misdemeanors” pursuant to Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States.

1. As U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton absented herself from the besieged in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, costing four American lives: U.S. Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens, security officers and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, and information officer Sean Smith.

2. As U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton received, through the Clinton Foundation, emoluments from foreign governments, despite Article I, Section 9, which proscribes the reception of foreign “gifts” by U.S. officials without the express consent of Congress.

3. As U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton unlawfully housed her official emails on a private server in violation of the Freedom of Information Act and to the detriment of national security.
The man behind the lunacy called for Republicans to engage in armed rebellion against the United States government, believes slavery could have been prevented if slaves had guns and chaired a “Gun Appreciation Day” that was sponsored by a white nationalist party. He also worked for George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004.
The movement to retroactively impeach Clinton highlights both the Republican desperation to defeat her, and the fact that the crazy that gripped the right during the Obama years is not going to go away when our current president leaves office.
If anything, another presidential election loss will cause the insanity to multiply within the GOP. The movement to impeach Clinton is part of the grassroots environment that Republican presidential candidates must appeal to.
The impeachment stunt isn’t going to work, but if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 election, expect the Republican crazy to go into overdrive.

Business ‘Expert’ Carly Fiorina Repaid Herself for Failed Campaign While Not Paying Workers

Carly Fiorina
Hey, at least you know what you’re getting when you vote for Republican Carly Fiorina because her idea of success never changes. Like Mitt Romney, Fiorina seems to put a lot of stock in her own entitlement and worthiness. But regular workers, not so much.
Fiorina did not pay workers from her failed 2010 California Senate campaign until she started this new bid for president of the U.S., Reuters reports.
In fact, Fiorina, who is worth an estimated $120 million, owed nearly half a million dollars to staffers, vendors, consultants, strategists, and legal experts according to Federal Election filings.
Some people didn’t appreciate not being paid until Fiorina was in the public limelight again, so 12 out of 30 told Reuters they wouldn’t work for her again. They’d rather go to Iraq than work for her, one of them said.
But like a good Republican “business” expert, Fiorina knows that an expert business leader pays themselves first and ignores the plight of the paycheck to paycheck people, so around the time she lost her campaign, “Fiorina repaid herself $1.2 million of the $6.78 million she had loaned her campaign.”
Too big to fail also needed a 5-acre estate before paying the little people:
Another source of pique: nine months after she lost the election, Fiorina paid $6.1 million for a 5-acre (2. hectare) waterfront estate in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The house has no mortgage, property records show.
Yes, vote for Fiorina if you agree that workers, vendors, campaign experts and the like don’t deserve to be paid before the wealthy entitled repay themselves and buy a new pad. She is the perfect Republican specimen. The Republican Party is full of them this primary season.
If you think that no one but the top 2% deserve to be paid for anything and deserve your tax dollars to subsidize their too big to fail businesses, since they can’t seem to run them without welfare assistance, vote Republican.
All hail the “job creators”! They never promised that the jobs would pay.

Senior DHS Official Charged With Assaulting Juvenile Remains in Key Position

Senior DHS Official Charged With Assaulting Juvenile Remains in Key PositionA senior Department of Homeland Security official charged with assaulting a 15-year-old girl remains in his position, according to documents and interviews.

Tucker Carlson Accuses Obama Admin Of Engaging In 'Nazi Stuff' On Alex Jones Show

Tucker Carlson Accuses Obama Admin Of Engaging In 'Nazi Stuff' On Alex Jones Show
Tucker Carlson seems determined to remove any shred of respectability that he might have had left with this move.

The Six Craziest Arguments Republicans Are Making Against Protecting National Parks And Wildlife

Republicans may again thwart Obamacare-hating wingnut’s efforts to save eyesight

Luis Lang (GoFundMe)
Luis Lang – a self-employed handyman who has never purchased health insurance – gained Internet fame after blaming President Barack Obama.

Kansas Voter Suppression Architect Prepares To Use Criminal Prosecution In His Intimidation Efforts

The legislation would give Secretary of State Kris Kobach even more power to make voting a political issue.

Punishing The Poor


Anti-Choice Agitator Admits New Laws Are Designed To Close Planned Parenthood Clinics

Wingnut agitators and politicians sometimes let it slip that targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, aren’t medically necessary measures but are really just efforts designed to close abortion clinics. For example, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryan admitted last year that he signe... MORE

Before He Was Outed On Grindr, “christian” Pastor Suggested Gay Teen Kill Himself

Gay Pastor

Turning ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws Against Religion