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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We will be lecturing at a seminar on Tuesday June 2nd, so we will be taking what other's have termed a 'Blogcation' for that day with no posts for the day but will return to our regular posting on Wednesday June 3rd.
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Unchecked Climate Change Will Be Catastrophic For The Arctic

Speaking at an Arctic Council reception, Kerry urged nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Armed Mob Marches Through Streets Of Gun Sense Group Founder's Small Town

Open Carry Intimidation: Armed Group Marches Through Streets Of Gun Sense Group Founder's Small Town"Open Carry Indiana" agitators prowled the streets of the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville in an attempt to intimidate the founder of Moms Demand Action.

Jon Stewart Shows Republicans What It Really Means To Support Veterans

Image via Wikimedia Commons
For the last three years, Jon Stewart has been walking the walk when it comes to supporting military veterans. Republicans should take notes.

Kochs About To Cull The 2016 GOP Nomination Herd - Or Not

Kochs About To Cull The 2016 GOP Nomination Herd -- Or Not
Charles and David Koch are about to put their thumb on the scales of the 2016 GOP nomination.

Fox Complains That Women's Magazines Are In The Tank For Hillary

Fox Complains That Women's Magazines Are In The Tank For HillaryThe shrieking heads at Fox have discovered yet another Hillary Clinton "scandal."

Democrats Land A Top Candidate To Take On John McCain In 2016

Ann_Kirkpatrick_113th_CongressAccording to the political site Roll Call, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) plans to challenge Senator John McCain in 2016. By entering the race, Kirkpatrick gives the Democrats a strong candidate, who could potentially spell trouble for McCain’s re-election chances. Kirkpatrick is just one of five Democrats in Congress who represents a district that gave Mitt Romney more votes than Barack Obama in 2012. Given her success on red-leaning turf, the Congresswoman is regarded as one of the strongest statewide candidates Democrats could land in Arizona.
In an otherwise bleak election year for Democrats, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick scored an improbably decisive victory over Republican challenger Andy Tobin in November 2014. She won by a 52.6-47.4 margin in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which includes a large portion of North Central and Eastern Arizona, including the city of Flagstaff. The district also has a large Native American population that helped propel Kirkpatrick to her decisive win, in the red-leaning swing district.
Kirkpatrick’s entry into the Senate contest improves Democrat’s odds of retaking control of the Senate. On the flip side, the move will make retaining Democratic control of Arizona’s 1st Congressional District more difficult, particularly if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission is unconstitutional.
Incumbent Republican Senator John McCain would likely be favored in a head to head race with Kirkpatrick.  A May 5, 2015 Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey testing McCain against a number of Democratic candidates had him leading Kirkpatrick by a 42-36 margin.  However, that survey also found that Senator McCain was in serious jeopardy of losing to a more conservative Republican opponent in the GOP primary. If McCain were to lose the Republican primary, the race would immediately become a toss up and a top tier pick-up opportunity for the Democrats.
A competitive Senate race could produce a reverse coattail effect as well. While a presidential campaign benefits down-ballot Democratic candidates, Kirkpatrick’s ability to generate high turnout among Native American voters, also could benefit the Democratic presidential candidate. With Hillary Clinton already polling well in Arizona, the combination of Clinton for President and Kirkpatrick for Senate gives Arizona a strong chance to go blue in 2016.
Senator John McCain will have to dance a political tightrope to survive a primary challenge from his right, without alienating the centrist voters he needs in order to win a general election contest against a strong opponent like Ann Kirkpatrick. Given Kirkpatrick’s ability to survive in tough political environments, Senator McCain better not underestimate her in a presidential year, when she will have the wind at her back.

Bernie Sanders Launches His Presidential Campaign With A Declaration Of War On The Kochs

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) officially launched his presidential campaign with a vowed goal of building a movement that will take down the Koch brothers and right-wing billionaires while returning the country back to the American people.
Sen. Sanders has officially announced his candidacy for President Of The United States of America. Sanders said, Today, we begin a political revolution to transform our country politically, socially, economically, and environmentally.” Sen. Sanders said proclaimed that this great nation belongs to everybody and not a handful of billionaires.
Sanders called for an end to the stale inside the Beltway politics, and a return of the United States to the leadership of the free world in social and economic justice. Sen. Sanders promised to fight for working families and build a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back.
Sen. Sanders said, “This campaign is about the needs of the American people and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs.” Sanders promised that his campaign won’t be driven by gossip or reckless personal attacks. He said, “These are serious times, and we need serious debates.”
Sanders said that we live in the richest nation in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything because the wealth is controlled by a few individuals. Sanders called wealth and income inequality issue the greatest moral and political issue of our time.He said that the level of income inequality in the United States was immoral. Sanders called the American economy rigged and proclaimed this is not what America is about, and this has got to change.
Sanders took on Citizens United. He said that the foundations of American democracy had been corrupted and undermined. He said, “American democracy is not about billionaires and candidates being able to buy elections.” Sanders directly called out the Koch brothers and said, “That is not democracy. That’s oligarchy.”
Sen. Sanders called for a meaningful jobs program. Sanders vowed to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, oppose trade agreements, a $15/hour minimum wage, and equal pay for women.
The media is trying to frame the race for the Democratic nomination as a contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but Sanders has something much bigger in mind. Bernie Sanders is looking to build a movement of millions to take back America from the billionaires. Sen. Sanders is building an army to take on the oligarchs.
Sanders wants to win the Democratic nomination, but his remarks regularly returned to the goal of bringing people together. Sen. Sanders called for a meaningful jobs program. Sanders vowed to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and oppose trade agreements.
Sen. Sanders’ message to the billionaire class was that they can’t have it all. He said, “To the billionaire class, I say your greed has got to end. You can’t take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to live up to your responsibilities.”
Bernie Sanders is building an army, and that of millions is coming for the wingnut billionaires and the Koch brothers.

Bernie Sanders Would Tax The Income Of The Wealthiest Americans At 90 Percent

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) doesn't think a 90 percent tax rate on the richest is too high in order to combat income inequality.

Benghazi Busted: Former CIA No. 2 Slams Fox News Like Media Who Don’t Understand Intelligence

The former CIA #2 slammed pundits who repeatedly trot out Benghazi baloney, because they do not understand how to read intelligence reports.…
Stand down, fools. At long last, stand down.
Michael Morell, writing for Politico Magazine, slammed pundits who repeatedly trot out Benghazi baloney, because they do not understand how to read intelligence reports.
Wearily, Morell explains that this is hardly a one-off. The “Benghazi broadsides” keep “missing their mark anew”:
Like clockwork, every several weeks, someone discovers a new document that, to their minds, “proves” that what the administration and the intelligence community have been saying about Benghazi is a bunch of lies. But time and again these documents don’t add up. They don’t show what the pundits think they show—and the Benghazi broadsides miss their mark anew.
It’s Fox News, but also the mainstream outlets who repeat Fox News’ claims, for some unknown reason — even after being humiliated repeatedly by the outright falsehoods they’ve stamped their names on.
As to the recent spate of hysterical GOTCHAS!, Morell is not impressed. From misreading the date of the reports to just plain not understanding how things work, the pundits got it wrong. One report does not the full picture paint. To wit:
But the only thing that newly released document proves is that the people who trot out these reports do not understand the world of intelligence and do not take the time to ask the right people the right questions before publishing the “news.” The DIA report in question was an “Intelligence Information Report” or IIR. It is what we term “raw intelligence.” It was not the considered view of DIA analysts. Often from a single source, these bits of information represent one thread that some intelligence collector has picked up. The all-source analysts in the Intelligence Community are charged with looking at that snippet of information and every other bit of available information from communications intercepts, human intelligence, open source material and much more to come up with an overall judgment.
So, see, lots of information comes in and it’s called a “report”. These reports are then vetted and sourced and confirmed and laid out against conflicting reports until some semblance of what probably happened is determined by reason (reason, not hysteria). Morell gets into the scary but accurate truth that there are some things we do not know for sure. He writes for example, “One is the debate on whether an anti-Islam YouTube video played any role in sparking the Benghazi attacks. The short answer is that we still don’t know with absolute certainty.”
We do not know for certainty.
So naturally, the “strident” Benghazi conspiracy artists “ridicule” the idea of the video being a factor, as if they know more than the FBI, but Morell reminds us all that the FBI were “among those who have argued that the video may have been a factor.”
We do not know for sure.
Who is this Michael guy? Oh, he’s only the former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency who served as acting director from 2012 to 2013.
This is not to suggest that the CIA would tell Americans all angles or even most of them. But it is to suggest that there is such a thing as real knowledge and information, and the ability to identify said things and put them together is what determines our intelligence, or lack thereof, in the Benghazi hysterics case. The questions have been asked and answered by even Republican-led committees and come up empty. The point is that Morell has more credibility as an intelligence expert than the pundits on Fox News.
Additionally, Morell is explaining something that has been explained over and over and over again to Republicans over the years of their Benghazi conspiracy delusions.
It’s basic being the person in charge stuff — you gather information, then you sort it, vet it, source it again, confirm it, and then start debating conclusions — not gather info and DECIDE!
Republicans, Fox News, and the media that sniffs after them like a deranged, starving pack of wolves like to keep things super simple when it suits them, but unlike the George W Bush administration, the Obama administration doesn’t go off half-cocked, invading a country on cherry picked information.
Sure, when you let information determine what you conclude, you will change your “mind” as the information is vetted and sourced and confirmed or not confirmed. But this is something that most people with a few brain cells can handle. They know the world is not paint-by-numbers and that Big Daddy’s Texas drawl isn’t really going to keep us safe. It didn’t keep us safe.
It’s ironic and predictable that the very people who can’t handle this nuance invaded Iraq based on “faulty” intelligence that they cherry-picked and failed to properly vet (at best). They were so SURE. Mission Accomplished, y’all!
The real conspiracy here appears to be the fact that the GOP pipe-addicted media continually allow Benghazi histrionics to be used as cover for Republicans in order to avoid discussing their policies.

Mitch McConnell Will Do Just About Anything Not to Vindicate Edward Snowden

by Dan Froomkin
Senate Republican leaders managed to scrape up enough votes just past midnight Saturday morning to put off decisive action on the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records until next Sunday, May 31.
But the hardliners — and make no mistake, they are taking an even harder and more absurd line than the NSA itself — have no endgame.
Only two outcomes are possible at this point:
First, three provisions of the Patriot Act — one of which has provided the legal cover for bulk collection — expire on June 1. (Indeed, the Obama administration has already begun the process of winding it down.)
Or second, the Senate passes the USA Freedom Act, which extends those provisions but requires the NSA to request specific records from telecom companies, instead of getting them all.
Fifty-seven senators, only three short of the necessary 60, voted Saturday to invoke cloture and limit debate on the reform bill, itself a milquetoast compromise that won overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. Nothing else has the votes, certainly not a blanket renewal of the Patriot Act, now that the world actually knows how it’s being misused, thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led a very public yet essentially meaningless quasi-filibuster against the Patriot Act last Wednesday. But early Saturday morning, he and two Democrats — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico — followed that up with a series of devastatingly effective objections that blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to extend the authorities to June 8, then to June 5, then to June 3, then to June 2.
But why are McConnell and his gang “playing chicken,” as White House press secretary put it on Friday? Why create, as Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., accurately called it, a “manufactured crisis“?
Anybody paying attention knows it’s not a policy debate. The reasons McConnell and others cite for wanting to extend the program as is — despite the fact that it’s flatly illegal, essentially useless, and spectacularly invasive — are laughable. In fact, the compromise they’re willing to fight to the death to oppose was actually proposed by the NSA.
The issue is they just don’t want Snowden officially vindicated, by an act of Congress.
Ever since 9/11, the GOP has found huge political gain in exploiting national security fears. And ever since Obama’s election, they have pursued a singularly successful campaign of obstruction, by making Congress almost entirely dysfunctional.
But this time, fear isn’t working, and dysfunction doesn’t get the job done. The Patriot Act provisions in question require an affirmative act of Congress to stay in place.
So although McConnell has managed to extend his fight longer than pretty much anyone anticipated (including me), come May 31 (today), he loses, and Snowden wins.

Santorum campaign staffer kills himself after stabbing fellow Yale wingnut

Rick Santorum speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Authorities said 22-year-old Tyler Carlisle jumped from a ninth-story window in an apartment complex across the street from the university after stabbing 21-year-old Alexander Michaud.

Lunatic Fringe Ultra-Wingnut Teabagger Arrested for Possessing Child Porn

An ultra-wingnut former Brooklyn city council candidate and teabagger schemer – whose campaign slogan was “Our children are our future” – has been arrested this Thursday for possessing and sharing child porn on the Internet.
Joseph Hayon, 37, admitted to police that he traded the images of kids between the ages of 2 and 12 in December 2014.
According to prosecutors, a tip led police to search Hayon’s, where the found his stash.
From the New York Post:
Cops confiscated Hayon’s two laptops, five desktops, video camera, Samsung cellphone and one DVD, prosecutors said.
He was also slapped with an order of protection Friday barring him from coming in contact with his four children, ages 9, 7, 4 and 15 months. He was released on $50,000 bail.
“I can’t comment, my lawyer told me not to talk,” a scruffy Hayon, clad in a yarmulke, button-down and khakis, told reporters when he was released.
When asked whether his wife, Batya, tipped cops off to his disgusting behavior, he only said, “Definitely not my wife.”
Hayon has been arrested before, once for assault in 2014 and driving without a license in 2013.

Roy Moore: Impeach Ruth Bader Ginsburg Over Gay Marriage Case

Alabama lunatic fringe wingnut Roy Moore spoke with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on Friday about his belief that states should “resist” a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, saying that Congress and the states should simply defy a court decision they disagree with ... MORE

Rubio's Convoluted Argument Against LGBT Rights

Rubio is worried that opposing marriage equality will soon be considered hateful, rejecting the possibility that it already is.

Pregnant hands in the afterlife

From the "Excuse me, your ignorance is showing" Department:
Mücahid Cihad Han (2000 TV/screen grab)
Televangelist warns viewers: Masturbating men ‘will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife’
 This is a muslim religio-wingnut ... proving once and for all that they all the same - ignorant and stupid!

Republicans Lack the Courage to Firmly Denounce Child Sexual Assault and the Duggars’ Cover-up

duggar-walkerRepublicans have a lunatic fringe religio-wingnut 'christian' problem. To be even more specific, they have a sexual assault against children problem. It’s not because Josh Duggar admitted to sexually assaulting his sisters and other young girls, or even that Arkansas Republicans worked to get the police record of the investigation into Josh’s assaults expunged. No, sadly sexual assault of children happens in every community.
The reason Republicans have a problem is because they won’t denounce the Duggar family’s cover up of Josh Duggar’s sexual assaults. Former Governor Mike Huckabee has gone full-on defense of the sexual predator and his family, while other Republicans who used the Duggar family as religio-wingnut 'christian' cred in photo-ops are now silent.
Silence is not courage or leadership. What is required at this point is a courage stand FIRMLY against child sexual assault and the cover-up of said assaults in this case — not just the police records, but the way the Duggars refused to produce Josh for questioning when the police were investigating for real, after their friend (the one in jail now for child porn) buried the first go around.
Republican politicians and activists are busy circling the wagons around this egregious cover-up of admitted sexual assault of minors — five that we know of, and not all of them family members. Republicans are saying the victims want this to go away, but of course, there is no reason to assume that people who have an obvious political agenda (the Duggars are knee-deep in Arkansas Republican politics) to silence this story are speaking for the victims. Nor could the victims possibly be free to stand up for themselves, with no less power than a man running for the White House justifying what Josh Duggar did to them.
Of course the Duggars did cover this up, in failing to produce son Josh to the police when they wanted to speak to him about it and then in working to get the record expunged when they knew the story was finally coming out. Anyone who is justifying this behavior is off their rocker.
To make matters worse, Republicans are justifying it as to judge Josh or his family is to play the part of dog. This is some seriously warped thinking, but we saw in it the family’s statement, and we saw it in Mike Huckabee’s statement. We see the less obvious results of this kind of thinking a lot, like when Republicans announce that dog has forgiven them for cheating on their wives and abusing the power of their office, so the matter is at rest. While they accuse others of playing the part of dog, they are using dog as a shield from being held accountable in this world, under our laws, by our community standards.
The problem for Republicans is that they seem to believe that dog is on their side, so they believe they are above the law. Their religious delusions are above the law. Is this not the same argument they have been making about muslims imposing Sharia Law? It is.
This country was specifically designed to have our laws be separate from religion and to avoid “divine authority”. So Republicans are wrong to claim that their religious delusions exempt them from the law, and they are wrong to claim divine authority and favor by dog.
They are wrong to claim that they know what dog thinks. What dog thinks or doesn’t think is not relevant to our legal system. As far as morality goes, it’s hard to think of a worse crime than abusing an innocent child – statistically causing that child to contemplate suicide four times more than a child who was not abused. This is what Republicans are trying to silence because they were invested in the Duggar family. They used the Duggar family politically. The Duggar family used them. The Duggar family is headed by a Republican politician, and Josh himself is a Republican activist.
In all systems, we see this kind of cowardice when faced with the fall of a hero. I called the left out on it when Assange was accused of rape (not because there was compelling evidence that he was guilty, but because in trying to defend him, they attacked the women and the definition of rape in harmful and misogynistic ways). Penn State stood by their child assaulter, just as the catholic cult has for decades. This is what systems do. This is why people must speak up and say this is not okay.
Republicans, who at one time claimed to be the law and order party, need to find some courage to do the right thing here. The right thing is not tacking on “Of course this was wrong” after paragraphs of defense and justification. The right thing is very simple. This was wrong, the parents were horribly irresponsible to cover Josh’s rather relentless assaults up (not a one-off), Josh Duggar was wrong to do it, their religion is wrong to teach that the girls tempt a boy when he changes their diapers — all of these things are WRONG.
You can wish Josh Duggar the best and feel some compassion for his parents if you wish. I am saving my compassion for the victims, who were voiceless then and all over the world, remain voiceless against huge powers and systems hell bent on silencing them or making the abuse okay by claiming it was forgiven.
Hearing the defense of this horrific ongoing abuse just eggs on other abusers and silences more victims. And that makes Republicans’ lack of courage even more damaging and repugnant.

Jim Bob Duggar, dad of infamous christian molester Josh Duggar: incest should be punishable by death

Josh Duggar’s dad Jim Bob Duggar once said incest should be punishable by death. Jim Bob made the statement during his 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. His son Josh Duggar has admitted to sexually molesting girls as an older teen.
During his single term in the Arkansas House, then state representative Jim Bob Duggar served on the Corrections, Criminal Law, and Judiciary committees. Isn't that just great.

Arizona pastor’s wife condemns ‘liberal’ Duggars

From the "Don't you just love it when the ignorant fight amongst themselves" Department:
Steven and Zsuzsanna Anderson (Facebook)
The wife of an Arizona pastor who predicted an “AIDS-free christmas” if all gays were killed has condemned the Duggar family – as “worldly” liberals who promote a “false gospel.”

Link Dump

unions are becoming cool again
ALEC sics cops on reporter who discovers secret hotel meeting with Georgia law makers
More Americans now consider themselves liberal as wingnut
suicide rates are increasing all over
living in diversity
8 things you should never feed your dog or cat
California farmers are watering their crops with fracking waste water and nobody knows what's in it
what the wingnuts miss in understanding the constitution
subsidizing the idle rich while the poor starve
America's richest congressman says U.S. poor are the envy of the world
johs and anna duggar take down their official website
biker gangs, Tamir Rice, and the rise of white fragility
Texas legislature bans planned parenthood from giving cancer screenings
bacteria may be remaking drugs in the sewer
admitted child-molester josh duggar's police records have been destroyed
and mike huakabee's facebook fans have turned against him for his support of the duggars
the modern slave labor system: aka the prison industrial complex
it's increasingly harder to get a loan in the deep south
what do rich countries have in common?  big governments
where's the media's ebola mea culpa?
how data can stop police violence
Baltimore has 3 times the national rate of lead poisoning among children
an interview with Wanksy, penis doodler and pot hole avenger
Elizabeth Warren welcomes wall street's hatred
5 step guide to police oppression of dissent
how PTSD service dogs help wounded veterans
dolphin die-off in the gulf attributable to the bp oil spill
organized labor should teach workers how to fight
Anita Sarkeesian's guide to internetting while female